By Burn The Mona Lisa
Displaying genuine heart-on-the-sleeve histrionics, Burn The Mona Lisa are said to be on a mission to 'overthrow the overrated' according to the media blurb accompanying this release.
The debut mini album sees them launch from one pop-tinged rock and roll song to another, with singer Nick Miller providing luscious vocals, particularly on opening track 'BTML (Worthless work of Art)', in which he manages to show a maturity beyond his years. There is certainly a level of sensitivity suggested through the melodic sincerity of the sometimes faltering vocals which helps to place them in the same vein of acts like Coldplay and possibly even, dare I say it, Radiohead. Elsewhere, comparisons have been made to the punky upbeatness of artists such as Idlewild and Hot Hot Heat and I think this is present mostly on 'Night and Day', which contains a more jangly, less serious kind of musing.
'Plastic Pop' shows Burn The Mona Lisa to be capable of presenting passionate musings of semi-epic proportions, whilst still managing to retain catchy melodies.
So everything you could possibly want seems to be there - good vocals, emotion, crisp guitars, tight drumming... Perfect yes? Well, no actually. I don't know what it is was but I found myself quite frustrated listening to this album. I knew I should love it but well, I didn't. Not really. Maybe it's just me preferring my music to have a little more life in it, or maybe it was the effect of all the hype I read surrounding them before I actually heard them, causing me, I guess, to expect too much. Yet there did not seem to be anything there to take hold of me and get me truly excited about listening to this band again.
That was until I got to penultimate track 'Pashions to Ashes'. Here, everything just seems to take itself up a notch, the vocals sound more rocky, the drums more pounding and the guitar work is truly excellent, proving to be as fantastic as the name of the guitarist - Bobby Love. Wow.
Final track 'Road with Cyprus and Star', though returning again to a more downbeat tempo, continues the standard set by the previous song by proving itself to be a heart-wrenching ballad of momentous criteria. And Bobby Love is astounding once again.
I am then, left just a little confused by the entire thing. It takes four "only slightly above average" tracks to get to two superb tracks. Hmm. If you like your indie-rock to grab you by the throat and knock you for six this is possibly not for you. If you like it more chilled and reflective, Burn The Mona Lisa may well be the ones to deliver it. Either way, I think that they do possess a promising talent, which can only progress. Yet I think that they are going to have to progress a hell of a lot further before they actually do manage to 'overthrow the over-rated'.