4 Albums That May Have Passed You By This Week
New releases from The Ordinary Boys, Demob Happy and more...
Eagles of Death Metal, Swim Deep and Rudimental might be this week’s more high profile releases, but don’t go discounting the week’s smaller offerings too. From Demob Happy’s melodic grunge snarl to Shopping’s DIY inventions via the debatable re-emergence of Noughties indie tykes The Ordinary Boys, here are the best of the rest from October 2.
Demob Happy – ‘Dream Soda’
For every histrionic ‘Rock is Back!’ headline coined in the wake of Royal Blood’s anomalous chart success, there’s a band like Demob Happy, to whom it never occurred that rock was ever anywhere but in the marrow of their bones. Swimming in the amniotic fluids of Nirvana’s ’Bleach’ and the first, best, Queens of the Stone Age record, the Brighton group’s debut album is, as you might expect, a riotous, vomit-crusted affair, but it’s far from stupid, and beneath the hotrock-pocked exteriors of songs like ‘Succubus’ and ‘Man You’re Wrong’ lurks a finely-tuned melodic sensibility that might take you by surprise.
‘Young & Numb’ is the album’s high-water mark, an anthem for millennial apathy whose buzzsaw guitars and unfocused frustration serve as a mission statement of sorts, but there’s much to admire about the rest of ‘Dream Soda’, and the way it so successfully captures the unreconstructed chaos of the band’s live performances. Slip it on the stereo, crack open a lukewarm lager and revel in the sound of your flat’s security deposit going up in smoke.
The Ordinary Boys – ‘The Ordinary Boys’
During the mid-2000s indie boom, all you had to do was look half decent in a slim fitting blazer to be a bit famous. The Ordinary Boys had stacks of jackets and also a hit by the name of cod-ska lad anthem ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ and thus, singer [Samuel] Preston went off into the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2006, like a proto-Ricky Kaiser Chiefs on
Now, however, they’re back with former Spectrals crooner Louis Jones on guitar and, judging by the unwritten implication of the latter-career self-titled record, this is the album that should show ‘the real them’. It starts off reasonably enough: opener ‘About Tonight’ is a major chord Britpop knees-up while ‘Awkward’ and ‘Losing My Cool’ both channel the kind of rambunctious sing-along choruses that are currently keeping Circa Waves afloat. However, the more you listen, the more throwaway it becomes. ‘Panic Attack”s sing-song vocals irritate like a playground chant, while ‘Disposable Anthem”s plodding and predictable melodies are too accurate to be ironic.
The recipe may have worked 10 years ago, but in 2015 The Ordinary Boys need to be a hefty whack more inventive to succeed.
Editors – ‘In Dream’
That the first words you hear on their self-produced fifth album is frontman Tom Smith brooding “[i]I boil easier than you/ Crush my bones into glue[/i]” (on the portentous, Fever Ray-hypnotic ‘No Harm’), suggests Editors’ reputation as prize gloom-mongers isn’t under threat. Since their post-punk-indebted debut back in 2005, the Birmingham foursome have assiduously tried on so many different musical identities you wonder if they have one of their own. After 2013’s Americana-influenced misfire, ‘The Weight Of Your Love’, they’ve picked up where 2009’s synth-strewn ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ left off. It’s an album in a state of high drama, often overblown. Even Hurts might roll their eyes at the billowing ’80s histrionics of ‘Life Is Fear’ and mutter “that’s a bit overwrought”. The falsetto-led, Bronski Beat doomy disco of ‘Our Love’ could have been on Brandon Flowers’ ‘The Desired Effect’ if it didn’t sound so joyless. Everything’s ramped up to Coldplay levels of stadium giganticism (the blustery ‘All The Kings’ and declamatory pair ‘Salvation’ and ‘Forgiveness’), while ‘The Law’ – a duet with Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell – provides a hazy respite. Among the bombast and nebulous angst however, somebody’s forgot to write an adhesive tune. For now, Editors sound like a band in need of precisely what their name advertises.
Shopping – ‘Why Choose’
From their name, to their 2013 debut album ‘Consumer Complaints’, to its follow-up’s definitive lyric, “[i]Why choose/ When I just want it both ways[/i]”, Shopping have a nice line in repurposing the dead-eyed language of the retail experience. Lest you expect this to result in smartarse PC Music-style irony, stand corrected: the London trio’s second full-length is a breakneck, open-eared, positivist post-punk canter.
The vibe of ‘Why Choose’ is much like ‘Consumer Complaints’, but Shopping pack so much invention and joy into such narrow confines, the results are perma-fresh. Musically tighter and tauter in all departments, Rachel Aggs is one of the most thrilling guitarists around currently. ‘Wind Up’, ‘Passing Through’ and ‘Sinking Feeling’ echo Bo Diddley, Wilko Johnson and African highlife as much as the Gang Of Four and ESG namechecks Shopping often attract. Lyrically, ‘Why Wait?’ is a paean to action and self-empowerment, while ‘Knocking’ sasses, “[i]You don’t even call me any more, so don’t go knocking at this door[/i]”, cementing Shopping’s status as monarchs of the UK DIY pop underground.