Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Review - The Music - Strength in Numbers
A few years ago, Colin and I were in Glasgow city centre, and were looking at buying a CD or two. I decided to buy The Music’s debut whereas Colin expressed interest in Dove’s album Lost Souls. It is rather interesting that both these bands have been away for a long time, either working out demons or trying to create a new album. In fact, Both released their last albums over 3 years ago, and in the case of The Music, 4 years ago. In that 4 years we have Klaxons, Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem and Arctic Monkeys. The musical landscape has changed massively and of that era, few British bands have survived – Hundred Reasons are still plugging away on a lowly label, Hell is For Heroes similarly, with the Cooper Temple Clause out for the count.
It comes to 2008, 7 years after I first fell in love with The Music and the danceable break beat rock they produce and I have changed too – I went from school student to University to student to employed office worker, and with that my musical taste has slightly evolved, from NU metal to indie and post-rock champion of sorts. Colin too has changed, becoming more specific in heavier post-hardcore. So, have The Music suitably changed?
The answer is kind of. The guitar work and melodies are intact, with the rousing vocals of Getaway and Breakin’ making it onto this album, and the sound is of a band who took a long time off to find themselves and their feet, and suddenly remembering what made them pick their instruments up in the first place.
The Spike and lead single Strength in Numbers are Music defining – large beats, leading guitar work, and rousing high pitched vocals echoing in the background, slightly lower in the mix than most bands. The production on the LP is slight, a sheen that is very different from previous albums – strings are echoed, the vocals are processed slightly and the synths are prominent.
On the dark and brooding Idle the band experiment slightly with their sound and it is a welcome respite, as it is bookended by some rather impressive tracks. This seems to be the new model The Music, with a slightly subdued sound, unlike their original work.
To be honest, this is a good return. Probably a million times better than some would have expected from them. Some times it seems they are trying to escape the constraints of their previous albums and they do succeed in certain places – the album is a rallying call, a statement that says that they were away but they fancy a second chance in the new landscape of late noughties rock, and with this album, it might not be sterling, but it is very much welcome, and if they survive the next few years (and we don’t have to wait till 2012 for their next album) we could be interesting records indeed.