White Belt Yellow Tag - Methods
Tiffany Daniels 18/05/2010
Due to my own time management failure, this review follows the release of White Belt Yellow Tag's Methods by a full month. For that reason, I can say with relative certainty that the record is not going to make waves amongst the British music scene, unless it finds unexpected fame on an End of Year list. A dubious End of Year list, at that.
If you're approaching this release with all the gusto of a forlorn fan of Yourcodenameis:milo and/or The Cooper Temple Clause - hopelessly chasing a nostalgic dream of intricate layers, mind-boggling riffs and pounding, infectious synths, that on paper seem a total mess, but on player glitter like an over-polished pint glass - then be prepared…for disappointment. The concoction's here, but it's been laid down on a plush deck chair, rather than an off-kilter beanbag. I approached WBYT's debut desperate for organised chaos, and while hints of Justin Lockey and Tom Bellamy's past filter through on some, there previous talent is vacant throughout the majority of these tracks.
Methods kicks off with “Remains”, a nod to the heavy orchestration and heady vocals of the early 1980's, the influences that are present here play a pivotal role throughout the album. “Tell Your Friends (It All Worked Out)” and “You're Not Invincible”, amongst others, are epic, stadium rock at its most bovine; the instrumentation is no doubt accomplished and occasionally inspired, but the vocals are drab and practiced to the point that they loose the soul the band perhaps intended to inject. Comparisons to Coldplay are abundant and frequently used, especially to describe the euphoric journey of “It's a long way, don't you fall behind” and “Ode”, but in my mind Muse lend a heavier hand, particularly on “News”.
There are moments of grandeur scattered under the rubble: “Where Echoes Land…” is a standout offering a building crescendo similar to that found on TCTC's Kick Up the Fire and Let the Flames Break Loose. Unfortunately, the taste of success is ultimately drowned out by yet more stadium rock and wailing from uncharismatic frontman Lockey. Similarly, although “Always and Echoes” is bombastic in its ambitions and eerily familiar, hints of better things to come filter through the cracks of despair. The undeniable highlight of the album is “We All Have Sound”, which finds the perfect balance between a quiet-loud dynamic and basic percussion, to create the most unique track on the album.
There's something about this record that prevents me from announcing it mundane and unworthy, and although the judicial writer in me is slamming my metaphorical head against the wall and screaming not to be so bias, the factor pulling Methods back from the sharp, catastrophic edge of failure is the bleep, glitch and 'WAAAANNGGGAAA' that manoeuvres its way around in the background. That is to say, Tom Bellamy has salvaged this record from ruin. Unfortunately, not even his accomplished hand can disguise the mediocrity of the vocals and guitar. Methods is by all accounts standard.
Release date: 5th April 2010