General Fiasco - Buildings
Richard Wink 17/03/2010
'We are the Foolish' which opens Buildings was reviewed by me last year. I remember complimenting the songs sprightly nature, and acknowledging it would be a likely stepping stone for the band into the mainstream. Well, call me Nostradamus because follow up single 'Ever So Shy' has been picked up on radio playlists, and even got packaged into a moody music video. Success in the short term beckons. Yep, the Northern Irish trio are moving onwards and upwards. I quite like 'Ever So Shy' because it channels the post Strokes / Arctics indie pop sensibility that has dominated the landscape over the last decade.
There is a strange contemplative sense of anomie that stirs under the surface of the album. I don't know if it represents the restlessness of youth, the old adage that there is nothing to do around here, but a lot of the tracks address hopelessness, and juvenile despair; tracks such as 'Sinking Ships' and 'Rebel Get By' contain messages that stir under the slick gloss of superb studio production, life jackets for the disenfranchised.
What prevents this album from being anything more then 'quite good' is the lack of exceptional songs, the fact that these tracks are mostly egg and chips bop alongs, no different to the output from the last decade of most guitar bands with leather jackets and tight fitting jeans ; this may sound like a sore gripe. I mean how many albums actually contain more than a clutch of songs that meet my incredibly vague criteria of what constitutes an 'exceptional' song? I think what I'm trying to say is that there is nothing lyrically that takes me aback, nor is there a song that moves me sufficiently to tears or smiles. Most of the tracks do just about enough, straying the right side of ok.
General Fiasco are certainly not the second coming, they are unlikely to be the sound of the new indie pop revolution, what they prove is that there is still room for bands to walk alongside the landfill. A lot of Buildings reminds me of Brand New's debut album Your Favorite Weapon in that the record is both a product of the scene the band are part of, and the generation they represent. It is likely that the next release will be a dramatic step forward, because the signs though blurry, are there in abundance.
Release date: 22/03/2010