The tale is almost as old as the hills. Boy is busy in his job on the song-writing staff of George Michael's solo career. Girl is part of a girl-group who have supported such illustrious acts as Steps and Five.
Boy is asked to write songs for girl's band, and instead, they decide to form a duo, leaving behind the soulless world of demographically targeted pop-music. Works in theory anyway, but can just anybody pull a Charlie Simpson?
Well, to reveal the hand early on in the game, no they can't. The duo of Jules De-Martino and Katie White seem to have two modes in their performances. Nauseating and catchy being one, nauseating and dull being the other. The best tracks on offer come pretty quickly. Tracks one and two - "Great DJ" and "That's Not My Name" respectively - are undoubtedly memorable songs, but they feel far too calculated to be lastingly enjoyable. A veritable one-night-stand of a listen that's good while it lasts, yet leaves a residue of cheapness and hollow-voids.
The sparse production places more onus than can be bore by the duo's lyricism. With every vocal line, you can practically feel your IQ dropping like Enron stock in 2001 due to its nursery-grade lyrics. There are effective moments in the instrumentation though. The surge of over-dubbing toward the conclusion of "That's Not My Name", featuring legions of layered vocal lines and frantic guitar strums brings the album close to a feeling of real depth for the first, and sadly, perhaps the last time.
When "Traffic Light" and "Shut Up and Let Me Go" come around, suddenly, following the life course of your average lemming doesn't seem too bad after all. The former track for its saccharine pseudo-sweet sound. The latter for the most annoying vocal delivery since the Fast Food Rockers last graced our charts. [shudders] Should be a song, sounds like a Friday night in Essex.
"Keep Your Head" thankfully takes steps to break this mould. It's steam-train rhythm and for-once understated singing style (courtesy of Ms. White) is just about enough to keep "We Started Nothing" out of the "torturous" section of your music collection. From then until its conclusion, it doesn't get any worse, but equally, it never really gets any better.
The whole project feels like a scientific experiment in creating indie-hits. A hybrid of pop-light fluffiness and gritty indie textures with enough hooks to bring in the mainstream. What it misses in this attempt though, is the heart to hold it all together. "We Started Nothing" is Frankenstein's monster with a shiny silver 4-slot toaster where those ventricles are plugging in.