Vinyl Double LP £26.49 ATO0199LP
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CD £10.99 ATO0199CD
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Well, this is a schizophrenic bag of oddities huddling awkwardly together beneath a worn-out umbrella of lyrical nostalgia. Like a bag of Pick 'n' Mix with all the interesting sweets taken out. Nice bag though!
Opening track (and first single) 'It was my Season' is a bouncy summery pop song with morose lyrics and chucked-in lap steel which sets this rather sterile scene, replete with infuriating plinky-plonk piano and an obligatory string solo. The next two tracks plod after it like a pair of ageing hounds – dull, tired, derivative; lame and decrepit. By my arrival at track 4, 'Pink Slips', with those strained vocals and unbearable electronic add-ons, I’m utterly bored of the sound of this record.
There are some hopeful moments, though. 'White' rocks out a bit more and comes across a little more rounded, but ultimately the experience is something akin to entering a wind tunnel and coming out the other end with not a single hair out of place. And 'Walking without Frankie' builds up nicely and has me tapping my foot. But sadly, for me anyway, none of the songs really deliver what they’re intended to. Closing track ' Black Nemo' is a well-crafted tune and for once actually utilizes the pedal steel well, but there is just no... punch to it.
There’s just something a bit too ‘try-hard’ about the whole affair. Stripped of the rough edges of their previous records and with such heavy-handed sludgy production, the entire concept is buried, along with the lyrics and and, well, any real sense of life. A shame, but this is a whimper of an album from a band more than capable of a roar.
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