We’re very much in favour of bribes here at Sandman. Unfortunately, as the the band themselves point out, theirs was crap. Fortunately some of the music is better than the tat they sort to corrupt us with and first track, ‘Equipped For Life’ is one of the best things we’ve heard on demos this year. It’s still rough round the edges but the fundamental sound is great, an edgy rolling number with treated spoken vocals that remind us of Whipping Boy (nip down to Record Collector and see if they’ve got a copy of Heartworm). They keep it simple and the way the chorus is only slightly elevated from the verse is cool. Interesting lyrics and there is something in the sound which remind us of the early Smiths.
This lot sent us in another demo a few months ago which we didn’t review because a) we get more demos than we have space for and b) we didn’t think that much of it. Deva Raja was probably the best thing on that first effort, a Pearl Jammy / Led Zeppy effort which sounds a touch too forced. Other track Trapped Inside is a pleasant, if slight, acoustically lead song. Overall ‘Equipped’ really stands out from the others but they sound like a band prepared to try things on for size. Worth a punt live too we reckon.
A very tinny sound to the start of this demo but it’s pretty full when it all kicks off. It’s metal, it’s tight and it’s dark. Classic rock vocals soar over loud guitar riffage. It’s reminiscent of what Half a Dog were playing two years ago. You get everything you want out of this headbanging teen-angst track.
Track 2 starts off a little lighter in its metallicy and mood. They’ve recorded a nice sound here and again the guitars pound back in, not in a rhythmic way but upholding the riffage style of the previous track. One thing you might not notice in the music so far are the drums. They’ve sat pleasantly in the background doing their job and moving the piece along - nothing wrong with that, but it’s great when they burst in with their own little sporadic riff to compliment the shouts over the top. All the little touches on this demo are well thought out. It’s simple music. Heavier music can be relaxing at times (like Martin Grech) even when it’s shouting out the speakers in your face, this does the job.
Overall, tracks 1 & 2 are excellent examples of songwriting, recording and performance. Track 3 gives a slightly different slant to the feel of the band. Track 4 will leave you exhausted but chuffed.
Technically great funk - they’re a tight, solid set up; 2 guitars, bass, drums and vox. The recording is a bit weird - sounds very tinny as if they’ve plonked one mic in the middle of the rehearsal room. Having said that, you can still hear everything clearly and they do point out that it’s a rough demo. The lead vocal is a little indistinctive and the lyrics are bog standard Jamiroquai. The guitar playing is top notch and the drums provide a solid bass. The songs are well structured with nice key changes and solos. The only problem is the songs themselves. The riffs are way too happy and quite annoying, and although they give the music its definition they don’t do it for me. It does just sound like ‘Jam night’ down the Dog. Funk’s an extension of soul and there’s no soul here.
Laid to Waste
OK metal - you’ve got to be careful - bands get very upset if you class them wrong. Death metal, thrash, hardcore, grindcore, heavy metal, colonic thrash etc etc - to us it’s metal - heavy loud distorted guitars and an angry feel. This, as I’m informed is death metal - influences of Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost.
It’s actually great fun this demo. Proper headbanging, Kiss ass! Apparently it’s ‘Parental Advisory Explicit Content’. I can’t work out the words so it doesn’t bother me but don’t play it to your parents anyway. I think they’d just get scared.
Musically very together. Nice break in the first song with what sounds like a classically trained guitar soloist. Well recorded too. Everything is clear and defined which makes a change for metal demos which usually just sound like they’ve been recorded at eleven and distortion is rife. This is much more powerful and credit to the band and Steve Ellis who recorded and mixed it. The only thing, and it is the only thing, that I feel is missing, is a lack of breaks. Apart from the one in the first song, there is no resting point in the music and there’s no juxtaposition - instead just a wall of sound. Fair enough but I wouldn’t play it on loop.
The Lounge Kings
Bloody hell. Lounge King singer Shane has the kind of voice which explains why bollock hair is curly. It is a huge thing in the vein of the bloke from Reef with hints of the Chili Pepper and, oddly, Paul Weller. By chance we caught them live a couple of days after we received the demo and reckon that, while it’s pretty well recorded it doesn’t quite get across the fact that The Lounge Kings are a fundamentally pretty powerful rock band. Three studio tracks on here plus the apparently obligatory live thing. While they’ve got the foundations of a pretty good band the one thing they’re missing are songs that stick in the mind much longer than it takes to listen to them. As it stands it’s a patchwork of influences without individual definition. They need to something recognisably their own if they want to get out of Chesterfield.
Laid to Waste
The Lounge Kings