This is a review of "s/t" recorded by 10,000 Things. The review was written by Tom Goodhand in 2005.
10,000 Things have always had a reputation as a fearsome live band. Who am I to question that? The Things appear to be living out the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll dream to great success. Rumour (or the press release, by any other name) has it that in one hundred and ninety-seven shows last year, Sam Riley was propositioned one-hundred and forty times. The press release also proudly declares a large list of things (including a tour bus) that were either “destroyed, ‘lost’ or set on fire”, and also notes that a girl got a 10,000 Things tattoo “down there”. Now usually press releases should be disregarded, and certainly never quoted in reviews, but this piece of hyperbole actually deserves some attention. A press release is meant to throw meaningless, over the top praise at the band, and proclaim the album/single/tour to be “surely one of the events of the year”. Instead this release decides to play up the ‘rock’n’roll’ side of 10,000 Things, as if whoever wrote it knows full well that the legends surrounding the bands’ on tour antics are actually much more interesting than the album. He’s right you know.
Live, 10,000 Things are near-stunning. The show always brims with energy, Sam bellows like a randy hippo (in a good way, y’know) and they are very, very loud. Despite this album being recorded primarily live (in a studio, of course) the energy really has gone. The only thing that really lifts 10,000 Things above the standard riff-driven seventies rock posteuring is the overall enthusiasm of the band, and Sam’s occasional bellow, but even that is more limited here than it is in the live show. Even more disappointing is the filthfest that is the inevitable live highlight, ‘Eatin’s Not Cheatig’ (sic). This song should roar, it should be exploding out of your speakers, this sounds quite polite, it’s hard to believe it’s about anything more than someone trying to dodge being on a diet. The song is, of course, as good as it’s always been, but it’s flat, lifeless. Recent single (and again another standout track from the live show) ‘Dogsbody’ falls to a similar fate.
Of course when the sheer primal energy of the songs are taken away, you start to notice other things within the songs, like the lyrics, which are unimaginative, cliché-driven and actually quite painful to listen to. 10,000 Things are trying to express the everyday worries and quibbles of a bunch of twenty-somethings living on a tight budget, something they clearly have a lot of experience of, but it fails to inspire. So many bands have, in the past tread on similar lyrical themes (Blur, The Smiths, Pulp), but done it without resorting to quite so dull as:”You never show me respect / You got me running around cleaning up your mess” (‘Dogsbody’) which smacks of fifteen-year old angst.
The biggest problem that 10,000 Things poses isn’t that it’s bad. It’s just disappointing. If you want to get pissed and see a rock’n’roll show, then you can’t go wrong with The Things, just don’t expect to enjoy this album nearly as much as you would the show. Rather than spending twelve quid on this album, just put the money to one side, and go to see them live three times with the same money. It will be a much more enjoyable experience.