Back in 2006, a little British indie band by the name of The Sunshine Underground released their début album, promisingly named 'Raise The Alarm'.
It did well. Not very well, but well enough to get a few nods of appreciation from critics here and there. Then, much like most moderately interesting first albums, it slipped to the back of the public consciousness to make way for the next middling indie band desiring of our interest.
Cut to four years later and once again, The Sunshine Underground are back with album number two, lovingly titled Nobody's Coming To Save You. Bigger and bolder than before, the Leeds outfit are going all out to raise the stakes on their sophomore effort and whilst the attempt is valiant, unfortunately the material is not.
It takes a lot to make a serious splash in indie-rock nowadays, the crowded genre is now bloated with a plague of second-class subordinates all desperately trying and failing to sound as individual as possible in an effort to separate themselves from the pack. Where The Sunshine Underground misstep is mostly in the ideas department, or lack thereof shall we say. Sure it's neatly packaged, tightly-knit and courageous in sound but unfortunately, it's just typical pseudo-feisty indie with no real direction or substance.
There's your ballsy, cocky album-title intro-track "Nobody's Coming To Save You", your dancier, catchier middle-moment "Here It Comes", your quieter, more introspective number "Any Minute Now" and of course your thoughtful, pondering-to-the-future epic extro "The Messiah". It's all be seen and experienced so many times before that not only have you been here, done this and bought the t-shirt but you're also scheduling a car-boot sale just to get rid of the excessive paraphernalia. Perhaps we're being overly disparaging to the admirable attempt but when you've come across every single trick the album tries to pull off countless times before, well, it's irksome to put it politely.
When the band are genuinely trying to imprint their own name upon their music, it does stand as genuinely commendable, even if the style isn't anything new. "We've Always Been Your Friends" is a stand-out moment, blasting through its duration with tumultuous drums, catchy guitar-riffs and even catchier chorus-line. Conventional as it is, it's one of their best yet and shows that even when they stick to what they know, they're still able to shake things up if needed. The same can be said for the suitably epic "Change Your Mind" that reinforce their promise of eventually becoming a genuinely respectable British guitar-band.
Had this been released back in 2006 then we'd honestly be marking these guys as a new and promising face on the music scene but after four years of finer and more intelligent indie being released during their down-time, this comes off as nothing more than an admittedly gutsy but altogether mediocre rehash of everything else we're currently being forced to consume through the radio.
Here's hoping for more a more distinct, more inspired endeavour next time around.