Demos

Dead Like Harry
Mary

Now this one did surprise us. A demo from a young Sheffield band which is neither piss-poor Oasis, half strokes or flaccid Blink/Sum/Bents Green/182/41/82. No, DLH have managed to produce something that sounds like Jim Steinman on a folk jag might have written for Big Country. It’s 80’s big hair rock but with a Mike Oldfield twist, cheesy synths and rawk solos* included. To be fair it’s pretty well done but the theatrical nature of the songwriting (Down By The River is ‘about someone who hangs his brother over a girl’) gives it a slight comic edge which we’re certain isn’t intentional. The simplest song here is the best, ‘Still Love You’ has a pretty tune with some lovely swoony backing vocals. Overall it’s left us baffled. Still A+ for ambition and it’ll be interesting to see where this lot go with it.
http://www.deadlikeharry.co.uk/
 


After The Silence
Queen Of The Teens

The whirling keys at the start sound out of tune to us but we keep on reassuring myself it’s not because this is a very catchy tune and we can’t help ourselves humming along to it (in our heads). It reminds us a little of 5th Amendment in its coarse sound and so, hey!, if it is out of tune then so be it. We want to go and see this band live to find out if they’re as good as the demo and if they are as tight. The second song, ‘No-one’s Looking Out For You’ comes away from the heavier angle although sounds like there should be a juxtaposition of noise vs. the indie leanings. But no. Indie it is and indie it stays. Quite an annoying melody after quite a long introduction and they do sound less together here. It does gradually build but never steps out into the realms of metal or even rock for that matter. An interesting altro to the song emerges but it doesn’t rate against the first track. When you playing next boys? Let us know.
 
 
Jonah
Yours Fraternally EP

Solo acoustic man. The CD comes complete with a letter which pinpoints Neil Young and Billy Bragg as influences. It’s fair enough but only up to a point. ‘Statistick’ and ‘Red Rat’ share a reflective qaulity with Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ album and, lyrically at least, the political split between father and son on ‘I’m Ashamed’ is well sketched out and mirrors Bragg’s use of the personal and the political. The problem with spelling influences out is that, almost inevitably, the music falls a bit short. Both Young and Bragg have their moments of clear, sharp passion allied to a strong melodic sensibility. Jonah, can play and sing OK but in comparison his music suffers, ultimately it’s somewhat insipid. Come on, Jonah, strap on a ‘leccy and give it some welly.
 
 
Soula Fuzz

It’s be nice to be surprised sometime. Soula Fuzz don’t. This isn’t a major criticism mind - they’re not actually that bad as it goes but it isn’t new and it doesn’t stamp itself on the brain. Straight forward guitary indie which dates itself somewhere towards the tail-end of Brit Pop, hints of pre-global Radiohead and snippets of Blur. There’s some competent songwriting and Sandman likes the vocals when he lays off the histrionics - there’s a good depth to it and, since the band are writing songs rather than sounds, there’s usually a tune for it to carry. There’s enough here to like but not enough to get excited about.
 
 
eNature
Live At The Casbah

See, the problem with live recordings.... Distorted drums, oh, and vocals. Not to mention tunings. And those little mistakes you can get rid of in the studio you really have no choice but to keep here. Those little bits inbetween songs when the guitarist tries to play as many random notes as possible. The mix would be another thing that springs to mind. Having said that some live recordings are great. But then the bands and their songs are great and you can look past some of the above points. With eNature you can’t. The song is dreadful, sorry guys, and it conforms to all the above points. Track 2 starts with (and no matter how well it’s played Sandman is always going to hate) wah wah guitars. Actually it’s painful - Accidental Blowjob, if you’ve ever come accross them, sound better and they were trying to sound worse. Enough.
 

Demo Reviews

Dead Like Harry
After The Silence
Jonah
Soula Fuzz
eNature

December 2002

S003

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