Sound: The sound lacks originality, however this is not a bad thing. In fact it rather works to the boys' advantage for the predictable tunes just help the the 'sing-a-long' choruses. It's a healthy mix of blues, ska, punk and indie. The two guitars play off each other as the bass and drums keep the rhythm going. The vocals play around mixing through the sound. The lyrics enhance the sound. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are most certainly worth listening to. These are boys who know what they are talking about, not another group of public school indie kids. The lyrics are packed with humour while covering many illegal and dubious activities. Criticising and praising different elements of the London social scene. // 8
Overall Impression: The Metros burst on to the scene last year, like an unruly mob surging out of the school gates on to the streets of south London.
Still in their teens, the five-piece indie-rock band from Peckham, founded by vocalist Saul Adamczewski and lead guitarist Jak Payne, now release their debut album on 1965 Records (the same label as The View). And like their live shows, More Money Less Grief proves to be a bit of a riot.
Citing musical and lyrical influences like Squeeze and Ian Dury and the Blockheads (the album's producer is Ian's son Baxter), the band could also be described as Libertines lite - but that would be a tad unfair. Originality may not be their forte, but their mix of punk, ska and funk elements in pop songs with funny lyrics, catchy tunes and singalong choruses has an instant appeal.
These adolescent agitators' bad behaviour has got them into hot water on and off stage, but The Metros' music is brimful of infectious energy and tongue in cheek humour. Their songs describe a seedy world of sink estates and failing schools, the benefit culture of the welfare state, juvenile delinquents with ASBOs, Millwall fans and bar gamblers with zestful detail.
With all the references to dodgy geezers and wide boys, drug deals gone wrong and sawn-off shotguns, the band could be mistaken for extras from a Guy Ritchie movie, always on the fringes of trouble but having a damned good laugh at the same time.
The opening track of the album is a perfect example. Missing in Action depicts an armed robber "with a mistress half his age/Who says crime doesn't pay?" but who ends up "lifeless on the kitchen floor". Ra Ra Roland, on the other hand, is a comic account of class distinctions: "I'm not saying that I come from poverty / I had a salad in my lunchbox if that means anything."
The excellent first single Education Pt. 2 is a damning indictment of institutionalised learning: "Education's overrated, and I'm the monster that it created" - no surprise then that Adamczewski was expelled from school himself. Second single Last of the Lookers is a delightfully breezy account of "nights out for a tenner" for these "south-east lovers".
Sexual Riot is a high-tempo pop-punk/ska tune about getting laid, but Sarah Kane is a more reflective song about the suicidal in yer face playwright - a surprising subject.
Talk About It reverts to breakneck speed with life passing in a blur: "My shoes are breaking out my feet / My clothes are dirty ain't been home for weeks". Sounding at their most Libertinesque, Robbin Hood suggests social concerns with its name-check of Che Guevara. Every Other Tuesday shows the band's characteristic use of call and response vocals, while the bass-heavy Kreps for Christmas is the funkiest track.
Live a Little starts off like a gentle ballad but quickly turns into a rollicking story about a dysfunctional relationship. The final track Too Many Hannahs is also the most mellow: "On Waterloo Bridge in the middle of the night / When we calm down everything's gonna be alright" even hints at growing up...but no doubt there will be more teenage kicks before then.
The youthful exuberance and jaunty recklessness displayed in these tales of drunken misadventures and sexual shenanigans may give the impression of a piss-up in a brewery but The Metros are actually deceptively accomplished musicians, led by Adamczewski's lusty Cockney vocals and Payne's funky guitar.
More Money Less Grief does not break any new ground musically but it's an impressive debut nonetheless from a band who, refreshingly, don't take themselves too seriously. Let's hope they don't 'mature' too much. // 10