The Firm - Dismal Results
Bill Cummings 13/03/2009
London four piece The Firm (maybe named after the mob?)are a rather curious beast claiming to mix a love of the urban melancholia of The Smiths with an affinity for the work of early Suede or the poppier moments of The Cure. Disappointingly their new single package 'If You Don't Want to Know Life's Dismal Results' offers nothing of the sort, lead track 'Dismal results' sees lead singer Ross Liddle's rather one pitched vocals wantonly ape Paul Weller's performance(adding a camp sneer) on the Jam classic 'Going Underground' while his compadres trundle diligently through a below par slice of dirty London new wave, all dissatisfying tinny drums and clasping riffs. Lyrically it's the sound of disappointment and dejection after a late night on the tiles, which sits firmly in the category of 'we've heard this sentiment expressed better in a song hundreds of times before.'
B-side 'Round The Rim (And Back To Him)' literally scrapes the rim of the barrel: cribbing a riff from early Blondie records sounds like a good idea, but when it's mixed with a ponderous vocal reminiscent of the early new romantic stylings of Spandau Ballet, it's not nearly good as that sounds. Once again a rather rumbling one paced melody burrows earnestly and unwantedly into your lugholes, and twitchy licks spike promisingly: but it's all rather dreary collapsing into Jam B-side territory than anything frankly that exciting. The live versions here display a little more life: but the two lacklustre efforts show that The Firm are a band still scrambling around for a direction, still experimenting with a sound that truly fits them: their main problem appears to be that they are desperately grasping towards acts who defined these sounds twenty years ago or more, instead of seeking out and developing their own. In short to really standout you must be able to shift gears; sadly the two tracks on this single are jammed firmly in first and careering high speed into oncoming traffic. To survive they must do better.