By Grand Volume
Obviously not short of confidence, this trio from Manchester, as Send Me your Champion aspires to throw down the gauntlet to today's crop of rock bands and, on some levels at least, succeeds.
The main dynamic through these 13 songs is your classic Quiet/Loud but these guys are far from Nirvana/Pixies clones, Tom Sheals-Barrett's very English vocals and complex lyrics, combined with Dan Larkes guitar and Jon Greens skin beating give the impression of a band whose members tastes all veer in different directions but combine to make a noise all their own.
There are traces of Indie rock, Grunge, Metal, even Radiohead and the more experimental noise bands like Mogwai, but the lasting taste is of non of these, but of a fresh and potentially exiting new band.
This works best on the shorter numbers where the pop influence of the likes of Biffy Clyro (and yes, Nirvana) come into play, last year's single History says all it needs to say in just 2.02 mins whilst Broken is less than 30 secs longer and is surely a contender for 'hottest record in the world right now' if released as the next single.
Both these songs manage to cram in fairly complex time signatures and dynamic changes into their pop sensibilities, where this works less well is when the same complexity is extended to a couple of 5 mins tracks mid album (Here We Are and Sleepnot), while these undoubtedly have their hooks/melodies/rocking out bits etc the songs fail to leave the impression of a cohesive whole as any good pop or rock song should.
Other highlights are 'Did you See us?', perhaps the closest here to a conventional indie rock song until the urge to rock out in 6/8 time (or whatever!) overcomes them in the middle 16 before the wah-wah'ed chorus comes back in. The fantastically named 'The Person You Are Calling Knows You Are Waiting' also matches its ambitions. Sheals-Barretts shows a delicate ear for a lyric too on 'Departure Lounge' a song about the desperation of an 'inmate' in an old folks home, which shows a real maturity in the imagery although, in common with a few other tracks, and indeed with some of the songs as a whole, a little more discipline and clarity in terms of melody would tighten everything up.
So, the glove's been taken off and slapped across the face. Who'll still be standing after the duel?