Ivan Campo - Super 7 EP
Bill Cummings 23/03/2009
Ivan Campo the footballer was a shambling, curly haired-topped Spaniard; with sticky out teeth and a deceptive amount of skill, forging out a career in the heart of Real Madirds defence, he gained notoriety in the Indian summer of his career at the Reebok stadium in Bolton, patrolling the midfield, spraying passes out to their burly target man Kevin Nolan. Ivan Campo the band, on the other hand are from Lancashire and cite influences like Simon and Garfunkel, T-Rex, The Beatles and Arcade Fire, and that's the problem because nothing on their new seven track Super Seven EP, possesses any of the quality or epoch defining moments of their cited influences. Indeed Ivan Campo's modest guitar sound has more in common with the softly emotional homespun melodies of Shack or the more sedate moments from a Coral album, only occasionally doffing their caps to the work of the Moptops outright.
There are some highlights opener 'The Great procrastinator' is tinkling shuffling melodies and weary, lovelorn Lennon-lite vocals are pleasantly toe tapping, rather than cutting, while the enjoyably upbeat Mersey beat of the 'Lotus Eater' vocally reminds me of Davey Jones from The Monkeys, it's shimmering reverb and neat break down 'I believe its true/I feel lonely too' are briefly diverting. Elsewhere the tale is a little more average: 'The Curse' is all a bit too lightweight, it's neat melody washing over your brow, making little impact. While the worst offender is 'Rat Race' a wistful slice of Pete Doherty strumming, all achey breaky vocals, and doo bee doo backings, making this listener fall asleep in his seat, wholly forgettable. By ineffective closing efforts 'Darling Diva' and 'The B&B' the trite lyrics begin to pale there's only so many times you can here the simplistic rhyming phrases on offer here('why/try', 'along/everyone''my love','angel') without rolling your eyes.
It's not that Ivan Campo are bad, these are well constructed, polished, honest 60s infused guitar folk/pop songs, it's just that they lack the spark of any of their influences, anything that really makes them standout amongst the throngs of other guitar acts scrabbling for a minute of your attention, in short any real individuality. There's something a little too retro and traditional about the whole recording, if that's the kind of laid back soundtrack you'd like to slowly get drunk to of a Saturday night then maybe try the myspace below, but the rest of us will be wondering why we aren't listening to something as idiosyncratic as Ivan Campo the footballer was, instead.