Jumping Ships - The No Show / The Ride

Thomas 03/04/2008

Rating: 3/5

At first, I thought Kevin Keegan was a mutant. There, I said it. My overactive imagination at the age of nine informed me that, due to his unusual hair, he must therefore be some hybrid, centaur-like sheep creature, possibly from another planet. It turns out I was wrong, although you could argue his distance from reality makes the alien theory at least partially plausible.

But the moral of the story (stay with me here kids) is that appearances can be deceptive, first impressions misleading, and to be frank, nine-year old children really bloody stupid. At first glance there appears to be little to report on this two-track release from Brighton-based Jumping Ships, who play glamorous old indie rock n roll similar to a thousand bands roaming MySpaceland. But listen longer, and louder, and the devil in the details starts to swish his pointy little tail to the beat.

It's the drums that get you first. Fast and sharp, they come jumping through plate glass at you as the chorus of “The No Show” comes hurtling into view, raising the bar for indie plodders everywhere in an instant. Bassist Tristan's skills at production stamp a level of class over the recording not usually heard at unsigned level, complementing the well-structured songs with a lean yet surprisingly vibrant sound. Perfectly layered harmonies show up in all the right places, while “The Ride's” bobbing bassline, driving backbeat and delay-soaked acoustic guitar engineer a real sense of place, perhaps speeding around country roads of a late summer evening, or listening to the Smashing Pumpkins'< i>'1979' at about, oh, more or less the same time.

What's missing? Some lyrical meat to sink your fangs into, it must be said, as it remains largely unclear what singer/main songwriter Michael Williams is on about, but that's something that can be improved upon as opposed to a major flaw. There's enough here to suggest that Jumping Ships have a real future; whilst pushing few boundaries, they play with the pace and conviction that suggests a very good live band indeed. The next few months of gigging will no doubt be crucial, let's see if Jumping Ships manage to sink or swim.