Shibuya Crossings - Songs For Lovesick Teenagers

Mike Caulfield 09/08/2006

Rating: 2/5

Plodding, indie rock debut from Shibuya Crossings (aka Declan Harrington), formerly of rock outfit Jude. Written, produced and recorded by Harrington after relocating to the capital from Belfast.

Opening track, 'Typically, Everybody Thinks You're Dead' begins with promise: loud infectious guitar pop, with bittersweet lyrics and a whirling siren-like line, reminiscent of synth tarts the Killers and an obvious first single.

Despite the Killers comparison, Shibuya Crossings' songwriting is more indebted to the Gallagher brothers, with big chunky bar chords, amps up to eleven, and big sing-along choruses plucked straight from the depths of your subconscious.

Similarly, 'You Have To Try (Fifteen Minutes Of Fate)' is an unashamed big pop-rock song, with an air of Teenage Fanclub or Everclear (whatever happened to them?) about it.

However, as the record progresses it becomes obvious that this is all that is on offer, Harrington's songs stick to the same rigid format throughout and the wall of sound production begins to feel rather oppressive after awhile.

The lack of variation in the production and too many mid-tempo numbers cause the album to wilt mid way through, with several numbers blending into one another.

The monotony is briefly broken up toward the end of the album with the inclusion of the chirpy 'Can You Prove (Something To Me)', a two-minute punk pop number with an enormous bounce-around-your-bedroom appeal. Only it doesn't last and is followed up by a couple of grand-sounding ballads that fail to ignite.

So upon full spin, 'Songs for Lovesick Teenagers' feels slightly hollow, Declan Harrington obviously has a talent for writing big, immediate songs with tremendous appeal and, with the help of a sympathetic producer, good things could happen.