Jack Butler - Fit the Paradigm
Richard Wink 02/05/2009
How come we keep producing these guitar bands? Four lads, four fine young cherubic gentlemen who look like polo shirt models from the Men's section of a Littlewoods catalogue; the kind of chaps your Mother would gladly make a Sunday roast dinner for. They listen to the Scottish bands that were recommended to them by their drama school teachers, their knowledgeable Dad's and assorted celtic barflies who haunt the local gig circuit, the likes of Orange Juice and Nyah Fearties are mentioned, muttered under scotch breath, and coupled with the influence of the indie landfill they have grown up with those four lads down the irn bu and develop enough bluff and courage to form a band. A wee while later they release their first album.
The album starts with Hit it Out the Park, Son, a jangly energetic, disco indie song, carrying the right amount of shimmer and funk, a track that is bound to get the girls in their polka dot dresses dancing. But the music soon dissolves from your memory, forgettable that's what this is. There is immediate concern that the album might fester into something as mind numbingly lightweight as Franz Ferdinand's latest album. Complete with the tentative hints of Afro-beat.
From Plea to Paper is something the Ordinary Boys might have released a few years ago before Preston's ego imploded and he made the strange decision to enter the Big Brother House, a crass mix of scattered building harmonies and boardroom crafted inoffensive guitar jerks. Are You a Hustler? disturbingly appears to be a fast forwarded version of Van McCoy's The Hustle.
This jingly guitar shimmy begins to get annoying quite early in the piece. Boy vs. Beast is danceable, if not a tad old fashioned, trotting into full foot tapping Jack Peñate overload mode. The flood of jerky one paced rhythms means the album is a cluster of what on first listen appears urgent songs, but there is no substance, no feeling, just a bunch of noise fuelled by a desperate sugar rush.
A toxic mix of Milburn, Devo and Radio 4, cluttered in with a handful influences borrowed from the dozen albums your blind Aunt Janice plucked from the car boot sale last weekend. A number of tracks, notably Just Fit The Paradigm and Velvet Prose fall completely flat. But to give Jack Butler some credit Let's Testify! is a song of real quality, mainly because they reign themselves in a little, slow the tempo down a fraction and up the groove. Often on Fit the Paradigm there is too much going on, the hormones are flying all over the place, the album certainly lacks control, yet the band are unable to go the other way and produce something that is a near knuckle relentless sonic disco death ride. Instead they meekly end up recycling ideas. It's quite eerie that in the last three days I've listened to this album nearly a dozen times and apart from one song nothing else sticks.
On Just Fit The Paradigm Jack Butler cry “These kids will buy anything”. Yeah, on one level I agree, they might buy a lot of useless tat; even so, they are unlikely to buy this album.