By Various Artists
In an ideal world there'd be a Wrath Records on every street corner, little collectives of bands, combining forces and flying the flag for genuinely independent music. As it is there isn't, as too often petty rivalries, lack of organisational skills and ego's get in the way. So here's to Wrath for rising above and doing it the right way. This neat 8 track & 1 video CD Sampler is a perfect introduction to the collective talent lurking in the Leeds suburbs.
For those on the Leeds circuit who haven't heard of The Scaramanga Six then you have either only just started out (like yesterday) or you are so wrapped up in your own little world that you need a serious wake-up call to the world out there. As arguably the crowning jewel in the Wrath collection (more so through longevity than talent) the six open this sampler with their stomping ode to childhood "Too Cool For Skool". Many have asked for a good while why this band are forming a collective and not signing a big bucks deal - I would never be so presumptuous as to try to answer that question but perhaps as a suggestion it is merely a question of trends. The Scaramanga Six's own brand of "Camp" Northern Pub Rock/Indie-Pop is tight, catchy and well written with ample tongue in cheek wit...but it's not lo-fi or Yankee "punk" pop ala Blinken Sum-Park 1841....nor should it be, but Mr A&R man he say it no right for d'kids! The second song from the band is the mighty & huge "Singer of songs" - reminiscent of 90's band Denim or what early Roxy Music might of sounded like had they been born at the end of the 70's.
Galitza are one half of the mitosis of former Leeds Indie kids "The Landspeed Loungers" plus the addition of ex-"Chest" member Emma Bob 3. From the smiley sound of TSS, Galitza takes us somewhere far more bleak and tense. Listening to "You Must Be The Devil" and "Stalker" there is a real sense of atmosphere and presence - I'm almost loathed to use it, as it's number 1 "don't" in the reviewers handbook - but Radiohead springs to mind...I know I'm sorry! As an overall sound though, a fairer comparison would be the likes of 90's MTV darlings "Salad". No doubt through the trials and tribulations of previous incarnations, Galitza are band who it appears have mastered their sound and a very nice one it is too.
Being 747 are the other half of the previously mentioned mitosis, in fact just one member, Dave Cooke, flanked by the Morricone brothers of TSS. Cooke's ability to write pop songs has the potential to become legendary and the two tracks we are graced with here are the outstanding "Weathergirl" and the less poppy "Strangers have never been stranger". With a voice that sounds like a cross between Nick Cave and Neil Hannon and a songwriting style that's a blend of a polished Hefner or The Divine Comedy - there is a lot to be liked about Being 747.
The final edition to the foursome are Farming Incident who use their two song allocation to serve up some gritty northern dead-pan punk. I usually do my best to steer away from bands with politically edged messages as it often descends into dull rant filled dirges. Not so in the case of FI who's "The harder you fall, the better life gets" and "The Equaliser" offer a balanced alternative to the poppier overtones of their 3 stable mates. Sounding a little Fall-esque and even instrumentally slightly Mogwai-ish this is John Peel territory and if taken a little further to the abstract left could have real potential.
In this Wrath buffet of treats, The Scaramanga Six are the tempting pink iced buns, Galitza are the posh Mediterranean Veg Flan from M&S, Being 747 are your neatly cut triangular ham sandwiches spiced up with some deli relish and Farming Incident are your Pork Pie, as long as there isn't too much of that odd jelly stuff. So sit back with a plastic cup of slightly warm flat coke and enjoy the spread laid on by Leeds finest caterers.