Some Velvet Morning - Silence Will Kill You
Angus Reid 29/10/2007
The indicators are there for me to like this for reasons I can't quite fathom - the cover artwork, with a parade of stern-faced, Soviet propaganda styled women shushing me from in front of a factory; the name, taken from the classic Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood song; the lead singer's charmingly un-rock'n'roll name (unless anyone else can think of another Des in rock music?).
It's a bit of a let down then to hear a Kaiser Chiefs style "ooooooooh" intro to the first track, but I'll overlook that for the time being. The aforementioned singer, Des, has a voice somewhere between that of Bono and Sting. It's clear that there's no lack of stadium sized ambition to this band, and the slick production serves as the ideal platform for their aims, allowing the melodies total dominance over everything else that's going on. There are hints that something darker might be at work in places, though these feelings are quickly quashed by choruses: that feel over familiar from the first listen, a pity as given a little free reign there could be a certain Editors-lite charm to this album.
According to the blurb I've got in front of me Losing My Mind is full of "monster rock'n'roll attitude", though I can't help but feel it sounds like the Kaiser Chiefs being fronted by Bono where it has the potential to do something really savage and wild eyed. The promising fuzz bass is the most appealing aspect on the song, possibly the whole album. The current trend for complaining about your home town is continued seamlessly here, The Madness Of Crowds being a particular culprit, comparing the local gossips to McCarthy era Communist witch-hunts - words fail me.
The only track that really stands out is “One Day You'll Love The Things You Hate,” which, although it presses all the same fairly predictable buttons, manages to carry it off with a certain élan missing from the rest of the album, especially as the chorus kicks in to speaker shaking effect. It's also the only track here with some real conviction behind it, shaking the listener from the slight torpor that might have been induced through listening. This is a real problem on the likes of “Propaganda,” which is a song desperate to break free and explode into life, with wailing vocals. Sadly, it retains its icy cool veneer at all times, and feels restrained and, ultimately, uninteresting. “Godless” might as well be a cover from Pablo Honey, complete with Greenwood-esque floaty, plucked guitars, verses that go to just bass and voice, and the odd piano note for dramatic effect.
This band evokes the spirit of many other bands, and they at least have the good grace to show a bit of diversity, in turns reminding you of Editors, The Police, U2 and a million pub bands. Overall, this album feels like it was neutered before it even had a chance. You never know though, Des can clearly sing, and maybe if they're given time to develop they'll grow into something wonderful. Especially if they stop listening to so much epic indie and concentrate of letting go once in a while.
Release date: 22/10/07