This is a review of "Mr Beat" recorded by The Fret. The review was written by Chris Woolford in 2005.
Sometimes I hate writing reviews. I got into it because I love writing and love music. But sometimes you have to review something that you really don’t enjoy and it’s horrible because it’s no fun slagging off bands that put their heart and soul into their music. However for the sake of LMS the next few paragraphs will do just that because I can’t find many positives to talk about in The Fret’s latest record.
Track one, Mr Beat, reminds me of my teenage years. Not in a ‘oh, when I was a lad’ way but in a ‘god my first band were crap’ way. It sounds almost as though it was recorded in a garage. It’s like some lost Coral tune that never quite made it onto a b-side.
The song is about writing the song that we’re listening to and lyrically it is appalling – ‘I heard the bass last night in bed / It came straight to my head / I write the notes as soon as I rise / My guitar it never lies’. Oh dear. It gets even worse by the second verse but I won’t go into that.
On the positive side the jangly intro works well and there’s a quirky Kinks style guitar solo too, although I think this may be more by accident than design.
Track two is a bit better. In Love & Anger singer John Butler begins to sound a little like Ian Curtis and he’s supported by some shouty backing vocals which make the record quite melancholic. There’s also a catchy guitar riff running through the song’s spine.
However the production is still poor and the song doesn’t really go anywhere as it fades into an overblown solo that morphs into an off-tune chord strum as the track reaches its finale.
Judging them purely on this demo The Fret aren’t very good. I’m sure they’ll be much better live. The band has clearly got a few talented individuals who can play their given instruments and, given time, they may progress into a band worth talking about. Unfortunately this record (forgive the obvious pun) really missed a beat.