The Agenda! are kinda punk as well. Only not as good. In fact, they’re not any good. If you like the Hives, then you’d probably like this. Assuming that Hives fans are actually able to find a new band themselves, and don’t just rely on someone else telling them what they have to like. But ‘Crash Crash’ does have one redeeming feature. It’s very short. Less fortunately, that means the b-side, the worst version of “Teenage Kicks” that I’ve heard for a long time, arrives before you’ve had time to stop the CD. Sometimes, you really wish people wouldn’t bother with cover versions.
Maybe someone should tell Harry not to, as her “Under The Covers EP” is exactly that. Three covers, does even less than it says on the tin. “Imagination” is just plain shit, “Push It” is even worse (I’m not sure quite how it’s possible to make such a great song sound so bad), and “She’s In Parties” was originally recorded by Bauhaus. Need I say more? Probably not.
While Harry can only play at being all sleazy synths and brooding bass, The Faint are much more like the real deal. Not content with playing such clumsy faux-trappings as the former little miss Dirty, they come on like some sinister electro-vampire sect, stalking across the dance-floor at Fabric, whilst recycling the Duran Duran records they stole from their older sister.
Hopefully, they’ll sink their fake plastic fangs into Mankato. Might make him less boring. Or, failing that, they might at least make him dead. “Flesh and Bone” is mediocre indie wibbling that doesn’t even have the decency to have a proper ending, and instead just limps out of action like a dipsomaniac’s flaccid cock. Yawn.
If you’re going insist on making pleasant, coffee table music, then you should at least try to be a bit mad. Look, over there, it’s Beth Orton. Isn’t she kooky?
Well, yeh. But at least she can remember how to write a song. OK, so maybe “Thinking About You” isn’t her best, but the Roots Manuvaremix of “Daybreaker” kinda makes up for that, in an interesting kind of way. As in, “erm, yeh, Beth, that’s…erm…interesting”.
A bit more interesting than Maximilian Hecker’s “Fool”, which just sounds like the theme tune to Tales of the Unexpected run through a guitar pedal marked ‘jangle’.
But there’s none of that whimsy from Gravenhurst. Nick Talbotplays like a man possessed. Possessed by sorrow, by loss, by tragedy. He plays his guitar like Mark Kozelek, of US slowcore heroesRed House Painters, would if he had sold his soul to a particularly mournful devil. “The Diver EP” is the first true contender for my single of the year, full of fragile finger-picking, gently plucked melodies and a yearning vocal, yet softly defiant with it. This is music that could reduce me to tears. Right now, it sounds like nothing else could. And as I’m unlikely to find something good enough to follow, I’ll leave you now. I’m off for a bit of a weep.