4/10 Li'l Biz Staff review, 02 September 2011
I've got a problem with Male Bonding. I know they're the new big thing and everyone is excited and they've collaborated with the Vivian Girls and they've written a song with Rivers Cuomo (one of the biggest disappointments in indie rock history...I'm mean what the fuck happened dude?) but it just doesn't make any sense. Two of the members of Male Bonding (John Arthur Webb (vocals, guitar) and Kevin Hendrick (vocals, bass)) used to play in a group called PRE (fronted by Comanechi singer Akiko Matsuura) who we're totally fucking awesome! Not only were they the only UK band I know of to sign to Skin Graft but they put out two awesome albums of amazing art-punk inspired noise rock that pissed on everyone else from a great height. When Akiko joined the rat race by becoming the touring drummer for The Big Pink I knew something was up but when I heard the rest of the PRE lads were starting a noise rock (?!?) band called Male Bonding I was sceptically loyal and first in line when the chance came to see them. What I was presented with was essentially a sub-level Ash with hints of American college rock thrown in for good measure. I don't know if it's just a matter of them getting old or getting frustrated with the lack of money to be made in the art-punk/hardcore world but you don't go from PRE to fucking Male Bonding, it's just bullshit. So, now you know how I feel I'll say few words about the album. Recently signed to Sub Pop, Male Bonding have delivered a debut album filled with half-hearted yet well composed indie rock that doesn't quite reach the lofty heights it should. It reminds me of a crop of mid-nineties bands that emerged from post grunge Britain with the intent of beating the yanks at their own game. They all failed miserably and probably still owe a fucking fortune to DGC (Bivouac, I'm looking at you). It isn't a bad record, 'Before It's Gone' managed to hold my attention and the opener 'Tame The Sun' has got a decent enough hook but they don't come close to the bands they appear to be aping (Shudder to Think, Built To Spill, Archers Of loaf, Sebadoh, Wilt (!!!)...i mean Husker Du etc). To their credit it's a pro job and I'm sure they'll do well, especially with bands like Mazes taking a similar route but dude, this ain't no righteously creative party band, this is a cynical band with tired ideas and the occasional acoustic guitar and like Daryl Hall and John Oates 'I Can't Go For That'. I demand better.
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