By Atlantic Dash
Ethan and Nathan Dickens, Stuart Morrison , Rob Soulsby and Tom Francis: Fierce Panda's latest punt into the unknown. They play the Cockpit on Thursday 13th May supporting the Cribs, and this debut album is released on the 24th. The Verve have already been mentioned in their defence.
They blast away from the blocks with taut and aggressive guitars. But twists and turns are avoided. Where surprise and delight could emerge, predictability and restriction sets in. They are no worse than many other recent attempts at indie chart fashionability, looking over shoulders at major label globalisation. They are much better than many. But they really aren't very exciting. A little bit of Verve, a little bit of Muse, a little bit of (a very little bit of) Motorhead. Much (pre Kid A) Radiohead. Oh God, even some bloody Coldplay. All very frantic, overwrought and all very well played. Exciting if you like. But it's all to no obvious purpose and with no riff, tune, sentiment, drum fill, piano line or guitar wig out that you haven't heard done to better effect many times before. Dynamically speaking it's all rush and bluster, with no pacing and no style. Listen to this, then have a few moments with "Paranoid Android" to see what I mean.
One of the boys can play some John Lennon style piano. So we hear bits of that. They like big guitar chord noises. They love big guitar. So we get plenty of that.
But why? The massive surges of guitar power and vocal laceration drive on. "It's all about a boy, about a boy, about a boy." About a boy, what? About a boy not much it seems. Like the other tracks, this one sounds like a huge celebratory anthem of something or other. But like all the others it says nothing that connects. Empty lines get repeated and strung together in much the same way that the dramatic guitar-band devices get lined up for maximum adrenalin release. But it really is codswallop.
"A foolish life / but we carry on goin' in circles, he don't know where to turn, he feels like he's done, he's already done." Is the standard of lyric throughout. The dramatic bombast of the band just crashes up against these platitudes and non sequiturs over and over. "I come in solitude / into your perfect room / not thinking, take the chance, do it again / yeh do it again take the chance take the chance." Is pretty much the whole of "Solitude". Its mighty riff promises the earth. Its naggingly repetitive punch line is verbal slurry.
So what's going on? Basically we have some very talented lads with big hearts who can play a bit. They can play a lot. They can do the things that make crowds fizz with excitement. But they only got together last year and (just a theory) they haven't worked out what their sound or their raison d'Ítre might be just yet. When all the yummy confection has worn off, what will be left? Like with candy floss, it could be just a stick with a gooey end and a slight feeling of having been ripped off.
The mimi album has just 7 songs - adding up to 29 minutes 24 seconds. Watch the price when you buy your copy at the Rocket. Pay no more than £6 I'd say. Give 'em the two years that Fierce Panda might have bought for them, and they'll come up with something absolutely terrific. This isn't it. Loads of style, substance on hold.
They come from Northampton.