Rehearsal recording by the sound of it. Come on lads, have a look at the studio ads and record something live that stops you sounding like a group busking in subway a couple hundreds yards down the road. Followed a couple of not bad live recordings, one of which is a meld of Venus and Living On A Prayer. The busking analogy isn’t particularly unfair, Fred Yukka have that amusing quality that street musicians use to grab people’s attention, a tribute to David Hasselhoff is clearly long overdue and they supply it. For some reason it reminds sandman of some old Housemartin demos they once heard. Could be a decent garage band by the sounds of it.
Thee Deadtime Philharmonic
This four-song demo starts with ‘Idiot Village’ with gentle guitar riffs that set out a landscape vaguely hinting at something more intense to come. The singer, Wayne, has a nicely distinctive voice and the sad melody sits well with the rather depressing words. Half way through the song, the band pulls back a little and re-enters with what we've all been waiting for, a more up-tempo intense guitar thrash. But I can't say I'm satisfied - the choice of chords is awkward and when the distortion comes in the recording lets the music down for the first time. The altro reverts to the previous ethereal gentleness and ties the song up with Wayne repeating over ‘I’m an idiot, I’m an idiot’.
‘Deadtime’ kicks in with a lot more energy, riffy guitars and a rockier vocal. The recording unfortunately sounds like the mics all had pillows in front of them but the melody is catchy and the song is well structured with a fast and furious climax. The next song heralds a sudden change with programmed drums and samples coming in. It's slow and dark and mysterious with nice guitar harmonics set aside reverby vocals. The chorus kicks in reminding me more of 80's rock classics with ‘put on your brave face honey come on’. ‘Stagger’ is again a rocky epic with huge reverb on the vocals that do tend to slip out of tune here and there. For me the songs more than make up for the recording quality and the vocal tunings though, it’s intelligent songwriting with a defined style and the mix of sounds they use work well together - there aren’t any sore thumbs here.
One major strength TDP have is a passion in the writing, Wayne’s singing about the death of the mining communities and the wasteland forming in their place. He’s got the making of a great writer and he carries it off because when he sings you believe him.
Kula Shaka sang: ‘hush, hush’. Hidden Suns sing: ‘love, love’ in this first song, and to give you an idea of the sound, ‘hush, hush’. The guitar starts with quite a good basic pop riff but as soon as the vocals come in, every cliche in the book comes out. I can hear Oasis and the Charlatans, not to mention Kula Shaka. The music is stealing from bands who have already stolen from others and that makes it very derivative. There’s too much repetition as well, it’s break, chorus, break, chorus, break, chorus.
I could do with remembering some tunes when the songs finish but I know I’m not going to. I’d like to hear some originality - even the sleeve is too much like the Coral’s. Sorry to harp on about it but now that they have finished, all I can think of is ‘hush, hush’. It’s Brit Pop and Brit Pop is long gone.
The Irene Sessions
Well packaged, well played and well, well, well, not at all bad. Just a rehearsal recording if we’re not mistaken but unlike Fred Yukka this band must have stood somewhere near the mics.
At the end of the day you can play and play and play until you’re blue in the face but unless you’ve got some songs or a sense of dynamics and sound you’ll never be remembered. 1600e’s tunes are catchy and obsessed with blow-up dolls, little sisters and, um, we’re not sure what really. From this they seem to be an old school RnB outfit playing a bit of Brit-Poppy pop (let it go, please!) but doing it well enough to make it worthwhile. Mary Blithe is our favourite of the four and unlike some efforts we’d happily play it again.
Three tracks aken from an album called Automata apparently. After listening to this we reckon we could quite happily listen to the rest of the tracks. If, say, local band Kimeera are influenced very heavily by Nirvana then what Tied are doing would sit quite happily alongside them with their Soundgarden tinged rock. Tied also err more to the more straightforward metal sound of Metallica and their ilk but there is enough melodic sensibility to keep it interesting. 7 Days has a really good structure (the drums remind us a bit of Therapy?). The wholes thing thrashes, stops and veers off round corners. While this demo leans a little bit too heavily towards an early 90s sound, the final track, Meat, fits in better with the current crop of melodic hardcore like 100 Reasons. There’s something painfully angry about Tied’s sound. (That’s a good thing by the way.)
Thee Deadtime Philharmonic