Matt Pond PA do pretty well by association. For almost ten years the band, behind the frontman from which they take their name of course, have toured alongside the likes of Ted Leo And The Pharmacists and Liz Phair, shared record labels with Braid and Hey Mercedes and online comparisons range from Owen to The Arcade Fire. ‘Last Light’ though, a full-band effort arriving almost ten years after Pond’s scaled-down debut, does nothing to deserve such rich connections. Instead the opening title track puffs up like Feeder or some shitty band from the soundtrack to the OC, ‘People Have A Way’ sounds like Mika and ‘Taught To Look Away’ is so languid it inspires no emotion at all. It’s not all awful, ‘Wild Girl’ messes around with some Beatles-eque melodies and when the band wake up they get a few neat ideas down, but nothing really comes from any of them. Hell, ‘Last Light’ doesn’t even go out with a bang, leaving charmless snooze-a-thon ‘Its Not So Bad At All’ to prove once and for all that Matt Pond PA are capable of none of the style or elegance of the groups named above. Still brilliant by association then, but absolutely ordinary otherwise.
As something of a taster for London quintet Livingston’s forthcoming debut album, ‘One Good Reason’ doesn’t seem like it’ll be all that sweet. The band share a record label with a bunch of nasty electro acts, the track has been worked over by the same people responsible for recent drivel from Feeder and Stereophonics, and worse, this thing starts off sounding like something your local funk rock outfit would cough up. Give it just a minute though and '...Reason' becomes all at once catchy, cool, emotional and powerful, takes flight like My Vitriol or even ‘Showbiz’-era Muse, and climaxes with a glorious wall of guitar feedback. Expect it to start crawling all over rock radio and the inside of your brain sometime soon then.
Ok so they might not have buzzed loud enough to make this year’s hot lists but if Death In Public carry on like this we’ll all be cheering on tinnitus by next winter. Indie kids never fear, this isn’t blood-curdling thrash and the Lancaster band certainly aren’t any kind of volume over talent proposition, but- much like their previous efforts- this thing doesn’t half rumble and fuzz and overflow with energy. ‘Biometrics’ is like Editors if they embraced a little more raw power or maybe even The Smiths if Morrisey dug The Stooges just a little, and it’s got enough heart, substance and smoky melodies to impress anyone too- except maybe those who hang about in Topshop. B-side ‘Motion Sickness’ highlights even further why this band are so promising- combining post-rock guitars with a desperate urge to be catchy and concise. The coupling isn’t quite perfect but this is still dirty pop done right- lo-fi as fuck but brilliantly anthemic, memorable and imaginative too. Here’s to Death In Public then, and all the hearing loss they’ll bring.
- ► 2009 (28)
- ▼ 2008 (16)
- ► 2007 (23)
- ► 2006 (41)