The Enemy - We'll Live And Die In These Towns

Matt Churchill 17/07/2007

Rating: 4/5

There's something more to The Enemy than meets the ear. The Midland threesome, as observed by, well, everyone it seems, do bear more than a passing resemblance to The Jam, but there is another angle, another influence that has been overlooked.

The Enemy are the sound of three very pissed off individuals who've come together to make proper British rock and roll in that 70's punk tradition substance wise, with a very modern treatment music and attitude wise. Indeed there is even the odd heavy metal lick nicked and subvertly cooled sufficiently, allowing it to slip in unnoticed.

'Aggro' opens and sounds like it was missed off of Kasabian's Empire, thick rumbling guitars and swagger-down-the-street drums will leave you hunting out your parka for the next trip to the shops. The song most like The Jam is 'Away From Here', with it's repeated “Away away oh oh oh away from here” chorus and Weller-esque singing style from frontman Tom Clarke. The break between chorus and verse however hints at an early 90's vibe, with thick reverb giving the song a New Order feel. 'Away From Here' could've been from B.R.M.C.'s debut with a Kaiser Chief chorus, group singing galore.

Arguably the best song on here is 'We'll Live And Die In These Towns', it's English in the extreme, from the pessimistic “You wonder why you can't get no sleep/When you got nothing to do and you got nothing to eat” to an, 'oh well let's get on with it' chorus, “We'll live and die, we'll live and die in these towns/Don't let it drag you down, don't let it drag you down now” a perfectly placed harmony adding to the sense of almost-triumph in the face of near-adversity.

The couplet 'You're Not Alone' and 'It's Not OK' are both full-on bloodthirsty bastard tunes whilst '40 Days And 40 Nights' and 'Technodanceaphobic' could be from The Specials' back catalogue. It is however the majestic 'This Song', despite its corny name, which convinces that this band are on the edge of grabbing the elusive golden turkey of musical acclaim. Alex Turner-like lyrics and an Echo and the Bunnymen ethereality demonstrate how they may progress on album number two from being a small venue to big venue band, complete with Who tinkling keyboards.

If the Arctic Monkeys are the band of the moment, The Enemy are the band of the next. Oasis fans will possibly prefer them to the Sheffield trendsetters; they seem less worried about their image and overall sound, experimenting with keyboards and almost-but-not-quite dance drums, in a Kasabian way. They may just quite possibly be the most important band you hear in the next 6 months.