This is a review of "She's Not Leaving" recorded by The Research. The review was written by Tom Goodhand in 2004.
It seems the more you love a song, the harder it is to review. When you hate something, you can slag it off for a good hour or so, it is harder to justify love. So despite ‘She’s Not Leaving’ being one of the best pop songs I’ve heard since The Cribs’ album, I’m a bit lost for words.
This is how I shall start: a short pop song, is a good pop song, therefore The Research have the making of a genius band. The title track of this three-track demo is under two minutes long, and features a cutesy keyboard riff that is one of the most catchy things you may ever hear, that it is looped for almost the entire two minutes without getting boring stands as evidence of this. Then you get Russell’s pitch-perfect plea to his friend that ‘She’s not screwing him/ She’s just tired/ You heard the gun shot/ Before it was fired’. It’s one of those delightfully simple lines that is simultaneously basic and brilliant.
The b-sides are even more endearingly lo-fi. ‘Stand By My Man’ (sung by Sarah) features a hugely simple keyboard line, pounding bass and Sarah’s desolate lyrics about an abusive relationship ‘I need to tell someone what happened/ I keep falling down the stairs’. This certainly ain’t the glorious pop of the a-side but is just as heartfelt and shows the range of the band. Finally, ‘Love Me Tender’, Russell’s broken voice just reaches above a slow chord progression and minimalist bass and drums. Here is a ballad that doesn’t rely on big soppy strings and grandiose arrangement, but on the actual lyrics and pure minimalism. Brilliant.