Popup - Chinese Burn/Stagecoach

Holly Cruise 08/01/2007

Rating: 3/5

As the new year dawns and we face the consequences of 2006, it's becoming rather apparent that 2007 will be the year in which as many bands as possible will be trying to sell themselves as “[insert location here]'s Arctic Monkeys”. Regional accents, riffy guitars, lyrics tumbling out at lightning speed - it's going to be a good band indeed who will be able to stand out from the crowds hammering at Radio 1's gates.

Glasgow's Popup are one of these. A band who have seen the blueprint and snatched it. They're also a band who has missed it somewhat, yet it would be churlish to criticise them for this. 'Chinese Burn' sounds like the work of someone who has had the Arctic Monkeys' music described to them without actually hearing it themselves. Thus you get something akin to the relationship Interpol with Joy Division. It certainly has features which match a description of the Sheffield chart toppers, but the whole thing is darker, heavier, more hypnotic. It doesn't bounce, it rumbles. It menaces. It is really rather good.

Lyrically it's not up there with the band they compare themselves to. The couplets do come, the observations are there, but the whole thing lacks the killer lines. Perhaps we need to once more mention Interpol, a band whose lyrics are unspectacular when detached from the music, but work perfectly well within the songs themselves. Slightly innocuous kitchen sink dramas clearly work better with the sound of thunderous guitars chasing them.

The b-side, 'Stagecoach' shows a little more lyrical bite even if it is about such a loft y matter as missing the bus. Musically it sounds like Ooberman. A lot like Ooberman. More than 'Chinese Burn' sounds like the Arctic Monkeys. But does this rate a mention in their bio? Of course not. Ooberman are not cool enough. But it's all about the music, isn't it? Isn't it?