Sound — 8
The Music have finally released their latest LP after taking the chance to grow up following their second album 'Welcome to the North'. Signed to a major label still in their teens, the boys debut album was a rocking mix of soaring vocals and danceable guitar based grooves. 'Strength in Numbers' seems to continue the departure from this sound with the energy fuelled dance grooves fewer and further between. As a whole the album sounds more mature, but also more produced, and somewhat tamer. As Bob Rock famously told Metallica making the 'Black' album, you can do more production wise with the slower tunes. This seems to be the case with 'Strength in Numbers' as you'll hear a lot of sounds far removed from the Music's previous two efforts. A number of these tracks are really successful such as 'Drugs' and 'No Weapon Sharper than Will'. However, this diversity is let down on occasions by quite blatantly poppish melodies, and a lack of energy which serves only to weaken this listener's enthusiasm for the songs. Overall, 'Strength in Numbers' includes enough vintage 'The Music' tunes to hold it's own with tracks like 'The Spike', 'Fire' and the title track. Yet songs delving into more poppish territory such as 'Inconceivable Odds' and 'The Last One' may be both unfamiliar and unappetising for long time fans.
Lyrics — 7
Experience has proven that Robert Harvey serves the music of 'The Music' best by utilising his vocal range, and keeping both the melodies and the lyrics simple. To an extent he has branched out and exposed the lower regions of his vocal chords on 'Strength in Numbers'. Whilst it's refreshing in a sense, the soaring vocals which characterised the band's debut were a large part in their success. Regarding the spoken word, Mr Harvey has always been not just earnest, but openly earnest in his lyrical approach. 'Strength in Numbers' reflects this style with often repetitive, chant like choruses that you'll find yourself singing along to on first listen. If you're looking for deep meanings, keep searching. Harvey is straight up, and leaves metaphors to the poets and more subtle songwriters of the world.
Overall Impression — 7
The Music carved themselves a niche in the rock scene by playing dance fuelled, highly energetic rock tunes. Robert Plant, sorry, Robert Harvey's searing vocals are some of the more recognisable pipes in the indie rock scene. However, I don't think either of these facets of 'The Music' have quite reached their potential on 'Strength with Numbers'. Whilst maturing as musicians, the soundscapes they have produced on their 3rd effort don't quite rival the more likes of Muse, Radiohead, Tool, or even dance oriented cohorts such as the Klaxons or Cut Copy. Don't ignore the undeniable songwriting talent of 'The Music', yet by the same token don't expect replica tracks of their earlier releases on 'Strength with Numbers'.