The album cover for We Are Not The Infadels led me to believe that Infadels were some sort of new wave electro-pop band of the To My Boy variety. It features a small gathering of mannequins with disproportionate yellow circles for heads, reaching upwards to grasp can only be presumed to be baby aliens cocooned in a grey bubble. The reality is that Infadels are Madchester and possess much the same reference points as Kasabian. Only they lack the swagger, the ability to bust a groove, and are without the faculty of imagination that has saved our kid Noel Gallagher from time to time. The most encouraging aspect of Infadels is their willingness to discuss the nitty and the gritty that middle class life hides away in the corner. But music is music and I want to be entertained, not subject to a subtle guilt trip. Look, if you're a major fan of the Manchester restoration project please look away now.
The first track, 'Love Like Semtex', sounds like a mix of the nondescript boy band 'Five' and a fifteen year old with Sony's 'My First Synthesiser'. Semtex is a general-purpose plastic explosive. It is extremely popular with terrorists because as little as 250g can down an airliner. The next track, and a single, 'I Can't Get Enough' explicitly betrays what the opener inferred. Infadels are in serious need of substance. An identical electro-beat underpins the track, guitars add the token effort of musical depth and, instead of the lyrics 'You go a love like Semtex', we are subject an infinite repeats of 'I can't get enough'. This is true to the extent that over two minutes of this three minute, twenty-two second song are taken up by this mindless repetition.
The explanatory verses pass by instantly and, after three listens, I still have no idea what singer Bnann can't get enough of. Judging by his personal message in the CD sleeve he's been to rehab.
The next track has a touch of swagger. It stinks of London council flats (Hertfordshire to be precise) and it is better for it. Perhaps a reference to their young days, the lyrics provide an insider illustration of young gangs and the pure masculine aggression required to be the 'Topboy'. In some respects the track is dangerously closed to contrived but, considering Bnann and pals probably were smashing heads in at thirteen, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. 'Jagger '67', the second single from the album, builds on this caricature of hard-edged living. It tells the story of a perverted romance between a boy and a girl of humble earnings. Bnann sings, 'I want you / In your perspex skirt / Your white fake fur'; again, he's talking from first-hand experience; and like before, I am willing to overlook the unimaginative instrumental in favour of social insight. I saw this kind of thing a lot through my car window and I'm glad to have it articulated in 'pop'.
The album finale, 'Stories From The Bar', sounds like a slowed-down version of 'Full Fathom Five' that you can find at number seven on the 'Complete Stone Roses' compilation. I am not overly impressed. Nevertheless, the last offering from Infadels has more variation than most of the album but it's too little too late. And frankly it's way, way too little. Infadels have stuck to a fixed formula, focused on the end product, which was polished in terms of audibility but lack genuine substance from which all goods songs are made. This album will appeal to the unpicky Kasabian-and-the-like fan but there is so much more on offer that I would give Infadels a miss.