London Camden Dingwalls

They shag tramps, you know. Or at least, they used to sing songs about it ...

THEY SHAG TRAMPS, YOU KNOW. OR AT least, they used to sing songs about it. But the problem with having MTV jump like a pack of hungry hyenas on ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’ is that expectations will always fall short of that instant global fame hit.

Whereas that debut single hummed with licentious tales of sexual excess, Stockholm’s Whale now sing about obscure Swedish bands, being locked out of discos, bad comedowns and, of course, fellatio. But the worst news is that in an attempt to avert being one-hit wonders, they’ve practically ensured it by going all grown-up. Yes, the cold, barren wastes of sub-Moloko trip-hop have reached Scandinavia.

Which means large proportions of this album hum with glacial boredom. And whereas singer Cia Soro once declared she wanted to [I]”fumble Sarah Cracknell up her Channel Tunnel”[/I], she now seems determined to [I]become[/I] her. Cue wispy, wimpy pop that sounds like a wet Tuesday in Tufnell Park, and makes ‘Roadkill’ sound like ‘Road Rage’ in a decrepit invalid buggy.

Yet they [I]can [/I]crank out an infectious pop tune, and in Cia, have a singer with a strange enough inflection and off-kilter worldview to get away with rhyming [I]’disco'[/I] with [I]’serious risko'[/I]! Which means some tunes; the salaciously jittery ‘Deliver The Juice’, the opposing devil-ridden riffage and sweetness of ‘Losing CTRL’, and the fidgety junior hip-hop of ‘Four Big Speakers’; are even capable of standing proudly next to ‘Hobo…’.

But such moments are rare on an album where songs have the indecency to hang around pointlessly well after the four-minute mark. Whale, it seems, are doomed to always be associated with vagrant copulation. At least that’s memorable.

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