Perish As Fools - Demo
This is a five tracker from a band in the States, in which the first thing to say is that the muffled quality of the production doesnít help. Musically itís kind of nu-metal stuff, with the vocals as expected. Itís competant and certainly not bad, but in a time where something needs to leap out at you and grab your throat, this politely stands by the side and shakes your hand. Opening track Plebian features a decent yet simple riff, which os pushed along by the drum pattern being used. Opaque is next, and features some nice tempo changes and switches from heavier to groovier. Thereís a nice break half way through in which the bass dominates, before building back to roar. Gunsky goes for the almost Will Haven vocal approach in places, itís predominantly a slower paced track although it lifts it for what I guess is the chorus. This doesnít feature obvious choruses, though the cry of "when will you learn to open your eyes" qualifies for it here. Death Is Better chgus along, although thereís a nice little riff going in there behind a vocal which is kind of part rap(ish) I guess. Something which Iím not utterly convinced works. However, where that muffled production really becomes a problem is on the final tracks, Moment of Clarity. Itís a total change to whatís gone before, which is good as it shows off the variation that is evident in this demo. A gentle, semi-acoustic sort of thing, itís a vehicle for a spoken word vocal. But because the production is muffled, I canít make out really whatís being said. Which kind of defeats the purpose to my mind. And as a result, it feels like it meanders and goes on for a couple of minutes too long. But thatís a production thing. Sort that out, and there may be something there.
But thatís a contentious issue, and Iíve a feeling a few misguided thoughts of mine are about to have their say. Many bands get slated for their production, especially UK bands, which ultimately ignores the real issue. That of the music. I get the feeling that sometimes you can get bands in the States that can afford (or get) a great production, and that seems to hide a dearth of songs and talent. Mentioning no names, but they get major label contracts, and constant features in the press. And my feeling here is that although this isnít bad, thereís stuff as good, and more insipiring to me, in the UK. But they canít afford the production either. Given the chance, there could be something here. But thatís a chance that should be applicable equally to bands irrespective of their geographical location.
Contact: Johann Flood at firstname.lastname@example.org
Radiator are a band that the jury is still out on for me. Live theyíve impressed me, and also left me non-plussed. Thereís been a catchiness to their material, but Iím not sure if thereís that something, that bit of quality to make the difference. So now that the album is out, itís time to try and make a more informed decision. The basic Radiator blueprint is to take straightforward rock songs that are built around the traditional notion of verse and chorus and meldoy, and weld on some samples and techno beats to create the fusion that many others are striving for. The leaders in that field for me are Pitchshifter and BlowHoly. Radiator donít really overtake or even pull up to the bumpers of those two just yet, though musically itís probably the most accessible.
The opening track has nicked the riff to Joyriderís "You sure youíre alright", which means it must be a pretty good song then. Black Shine is one of those defining moments from Radiator. Big chorus, weld on the dance beats. And singularly fail to make an impression on the charts. Which is where it reverts back to that, "have they got the needed something". Generator rides in on the back of a wah drenched riff and is again bolstered by a big chorus. They do that well, and it makes everything memorable and enjoyable. But still the doubts remain.
See, another problem is that thereís a tendancy for the chorus to be one word repeated affairs. Which can lead to the potentially embarrassing situation of singing the wrong chorus for the wrong song. It needs more variety in there. They also had the conviction in themselves to make claims that this is one of the best albums by a UK band in something that sounds like a very long time. Given that thereís actually an excellent UK scene at the moment, crossing many different boundaries, genres and cores, thatís a big boast. One that sets them up for comparison, and in my opinion, a bit of a fall.
I donít know why, but I always get this reminder of a band called Loud when listening or viewing Radiator. Thereís not a great deal of similarity, but everything reminds me, from packaging, reviews, hype everything. They were the great hopes and disappeared into a pool of oblivion. And I just think thereís that chance for Radiator. There is the potential to make it big here, but if it doesnít happen, I wonder how long theyíll be supported as they are now. Time will tell.
Pitchshifter / Janus Stark / Soundisciples
Nottingham Rock City
April 10 1999
By the time that I arrived at the stupidly early hour of 7.30, Soundisciples were already about 10 minutes into their set as of course, RC has to resort to being a club at 10pm. Hmmm. Anyway, I managed to basically catch the last three songs of their set. Heroin, as on the album is the absolute highlight, but somehow it's not all working tonight. It doesn't help that no-one seems to have heard anything by them, but it just didn't gel. It was much lighter and breezier than the dark gloom and despondancy of the album suggests, and the potential is there, but tonight was patchy.
Janus Stark apparently were close to splitting up. You wonder why. Then you wonder why not. See, watching this trio, that expanded to a quartet half way through their set, there's a feeling of "they're pretty bland and unexciting." Then there's a bit of "ooh, that one sounded Wildheart's like" and finally a "it's not that far removed from Green Day" Which begs the question of why they've struggled. Gizz Butt has the cheeky chappy approach to things, they play songs such as Hypermania and Clique, and some new stuff and it just simply exists. Caught in the in between. Gizz mentions the Janus Stark Groove a lot of times. Must groove like me. Which is not at all.
I knew what Pitchshifter were going to be like. I've seen them probably close on 10 times in the last year, and after that many, you know what it's going to be. The new album dominates. There's a couple of oldies. JS is the genial hospitable frontman, and they're in front of a home crowd. Boringly predictable. Yet somehow, they still manage to pull it off. There's an enthusiasm about what they do, the songs are great, and it pulls it out of the fire. Not that it was anywhere near the fire for most other people. Triad is introduced with a message from JS about the stupidity of racial hatred. It extends further than that. Everyone is born equal, no matter what sex, colour or ability. But everyone is also different, an individual and unique. There's no need to go and try to be different. WYSIWYG is introduced as being JS' fave Pitchshifter song, though everyone knows that set closer Please Sir is their greatest. We get the XTC cover in Making Plans For Nigel, and a remix of Underachiever. But best of all, tonight there are two new songs. Everything Sucks Again and Un-united Kingdom. The former is ok, though not their best, the latter a punky little thing that bodes well for the future, and contains the line of "Fuck the system, I'm going to work for Nissan".
So somehow they managed to do it and impress yet again. But they deserve it, and they've put in a shit load of work over the last year especially touring the current album to death. But now it's about time to look forward to the new one.