By The Envy Corps
Hailing from Ames, Iowa, but currently based in Streatham, London, The Envy Corps have had a difficult couple of years since forming in 2001. Numerous line-up changes, their debut LP being leaked via the Internet, and guitarist Brandon Darner (who, bizarrely enough, once sported a clown mask as a member of Slipknot) suffering a stroke whilst on stage in London last year.
Despite these setbacks, they have built-up a large fanbase through years of rigorous touring, including support slots with The Killers and Editors. Fan David Schwimmer used their track Story Problem in his film directing debut 'Run Fatboy Run' last year. Despite the fact that 6 of its 12 tracks have already been released via various E.Ps and singles, Dwell is still one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts of 2008.
Beneath its brash exterior, opener and previous single Wires and Wool is awash with flowing strings and shimmering percussion. The employment of dark lyrical content against bright, colourful melodies is evident throughout the entire album. For instance, the chiming riffs and pounding rhythms may not suggest it, but the focus of Sylvia (The Beekeeper) is the 1964 suicide of confessional poet Sylvia Plath.
Track three Keys To Good Living is where this record really hits its stride. At times sleepy and twinkling, then suddenly epic and swaggering, this is what U2 would sound like if they had grown up in the US Bible belt. Despite their love of 90's shoegaze and British also-rans, The Envy Corps clearly have stadium-sized ambitions.
Other highlights include another previous single Rhinemaidens, the beautifully introspective Rooftops, and current single Story Problem, written during singer Luke Pettipoole's two-night stint behind bars after a "boozy incident".
In short, this is a wonderfully assured debut. Aligning themselves somewhere between Modest Mouse and Coldplay, The Envy Corps are simultaneously intimate and epic, and almost always brilliant. They may have had their hardships, but it looks like plain sailing from here on in.