Chris Norman

12:30 22nd February 2005

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Why hello there, welcome to New York’s finest eighties revivalist ensemble, The Bravery! You want New Romantic? You got it! You want post-punk? You got it! You want a lead singer that will set young girls panties moisten to the maximum…”no, that’s sick and wrong”! Ah well, you got it anyway! ‘An Honest Mistake’ showcases what all the hype has been about, mixing up the sounds of Duran Duran and the Human League with an aggressive Killers-esque indie-rock vibe that I hear is all the rage nowadays. Just think OC soundtrack and you’ll be thinking on the right lines. A fine piece of sadistic electro-punk that hails 2005 as the year of camp…better start thinking about purchasing that Superdrug eyeliner and Topman skinny tie, kids.

Oh dear, I’m gonna converse with you now readers…what do you think when you hear a band are achieving a more “mature” sound, “the sound of a band who want to be heard”, a band who’ve just been “touring America’s stadia alongside Pearl Jam”? Yes, that’s right, the band in question are reaching for MIDDLE OF THE ROAD STATUS. Welcome back, Idlewild! Gone are the days when Idlewild fashioned such darn good angular stabs of indie-punk: ‘Annihilate Now!’, ‘A Film For The Future’, and ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ are but a distant memory. ‘Love Steals Us From Loneliness’ is just plain damn lazy, almost sounding like a male fronted Cranberries. Yes, it’s from their fifth album, but there’s a difference between maturity and tedium, and it seems, in this scenario, that Idlewild have gone for the commercially viable tedium.

It’s February, it’s raining one minute, then it’s snow, a bit of sun here and there, still fookin’ freezin’ mind, then along comes Norwegian popstrel Annie with the pumping single ‘Heartbeat’ and summer is here…in sonic wave formation, of course! The track simply swoons with pop-dance delights, the bass is pulsating, the drums are pounding, the vocals pure to perfection. “Feel my heartbeat trembling to the beat, like a melody, come see”, the lyric explains it all, it’s so chaste it could be soundtracked to the sequel of Amelie. This is what pop should sound like. 

Far from the cutesy warmth of Annie comes Kano and ‘Typical Me’. Hard and aggressive, Kano rises from the “grime scene” of East London and inflicts his own, self-produced, style of antagonising British hip-hop. A metal guitar riff commences Kano’s arrival on to the Brit-hop plateau currently held by Dizzee Rascal, and Kano ain’t sampling no Captain Sensible neither! While 50 Cent is in da club sippin’ Bacardi (what a big Jessie!), Kano’s just got chucked out the club, and that’s “typical me”. Whereas all these wanna be player pimps in U.S.A-ville proclaim their self-importance from the outset without doing jack shit, Kano actually raps about trivial, yet real, issues. “I’ll probably get nominated and kicked out the Brits”, Kano tells us, this time next year he probably will be.

Ok, we can overlook the fact that Weapons Of Mass Belief is a rubbish band name, but it’s near to impossible to overlook the fact that ‘Black Line Warrior’ is actually a rubbish song! A quote from the press release if I may: “When JG first gave the backing track to me, I heard ‘flatlines’ and felt a strong sense that the track was a moody chase by the shadow of death”, yeah, either that or the backing track is a complete rip-off of Electric Six’s ‘Dance Commander’ with nonsense rapping to boot. The shadow of death? Yeah, the death of this record.

“Ah, oh, oh, ah, oh, oh”- yep, it’s the calling card of Mackem quartet, The Futureheads. The third single release from the eponymously titled debut album comes as quite an odd choice- a cover…of Kate Bush!? Well, both artists versions of ‘Hounds Of Love’ excel in flair and panache, but the Futureheads bring something else to it - they stamp, with authority, their own stop-start guitar jabs and vocal ebullient flavour to the song. Voices and melodies materialise from every crevice and coagulate to form what has now become the spell-binding Futureheads trademark.

Hold the front page, tabloids, Mr. Alex “Franz Ferdinand” Kapranos now partakes in guest vocals, next thing you know he’ll be going solo, dating a supermodel and most likely be injecting fisherman’s friend in his arse. The red tops might as well run with this story, anything to deter us from the monotony that Kapranos, together with Del The Funky Homosapien and, reggae legend, Barrington Levy have contributed to. For ‘The World’s Gone Mad’ by Handsome Boy Modelling School is just dull, any passion that Levy or Kapranos normally bring to a song is lost in the sub-Gorillaz production of Dan The Automator. Dreary.

“It’s nay bad this song you know, sounds a bit Killers like doesn’t it”…that is until, the Welsh dwarf opens up his bloody gob! Kelly Jones, why do you have to spoil it with your grotty, grotty vocals, and your grotty, grotty lyrics!? “Laying back head on the grass, chewing gum, having some laughs, yeah having some laughs”- purrrrleasse, it’s not even sixth form poetry, it’s SAT level, and even then I’d only give him a level 3 grade! Musically speaking, ‘Dakota’ is actually quite a pleasant ditty, the song’s probably Stereophonics best in years, very poppy and very catchy, but it can’t be enjoyed when that man dispenses his filthy vocal vomit upon us! Morrissey may have forgiven Jesus, but I just can’t forgive Jones.

Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.

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