We're deeply confused. Confounded even. Having had the pleasure of catching Late of the Pier play live more than a few times, hopes were high for the album. The only explanation is that the boys had a hypno-ray, capable of over-riding our better judgement.
For not only do the tracks we weren't immediately familiar with have the sucking power of a black hole, even the songs we were quite fond of sound as turgid as the reunion of a high-school Nirvana covers-band.
The supposedly catchy rhythm of "VW" is a moonlighting production of the Rocky Horror Show in space, and not the good one. We mean the forthcoming MTV remake [shudders]. Even "The Bears Are Coming", a hitherto exercise in rollicking fun and surprising time and tone-changes has lost its edge. As their PR company has likely discovered, it takes a lot to make Hadouken! look good, yet Late of the Pier achieve such a task with remarkable ease.
With the musical might of Pendulum already fusing electro-rhythms to danceable beats and 65daysofstatic testing the very limits of what the electronic genre can offer, it's hard to see what Late of the Pier have to add into the mix. Previously one would of optioned a usage on the term "a sense of fun" but now, even that seems scarce.
Worst offenders, tracks such as "Random Firl" have nothing but a pedestrian plod complete with so-so vocal performances never pushing the boat out on the melody front. "Heartbeat" similarly digs itself two little ruts. One for the verse and one for the chorus, occasionally hopping between the two.
Lyrically there isn't much to dig for either. Still slaves to the prose rather than the masters of it, Late of the Pier's writings are all based around primary-school level attempts at rhyming. "Why must you scream? / Please don't make a scene She thinks she plays / Is it all a game? / No need to be tame / Sugar melts the acid rain." they proclaim on "The Bears Are Coming" which one can only assume translates roughly to "If you stop being naughty, I'll give you a sweetie."
Many times the disparity between live performance and studio albums have scuppered bands. The easy charm and good-natured fun of the boys prove to be a remarkable asset, sadly that doesn't seem to be something which they can condense down to zeros and ones and cram onto a circular disc of polycarbonate plastic.
Time to go get our ears bleached, such is the power of "Bathroom Gurgle" to spur to action.