Since I first heard the song "Innocence" some years ago I've been a fan of this band, praising them to friends and those who would listen, collecting their albums and loving their live shows. From their self-titled debut they've improved with each release, and their second "proper" album (not counting their superb "All I Ever Wanted" live album) "All At Once" was excellent from start to finish, a fantastic collection of songs that I feel compelled to replay as soon as it has finished.
"Such Hot Blood" appeared in the US some months ago, but for some reason we've had to wait to hear it over here. I avoided online preview clips and live performances on YouTube, wanting to listen to the album as a whole, booklet in hand, reading Mikel Jollett's lyrics as the record played. When the album finally arrived I could scarcely wait to play it.
Regrettably, the album is lacking something - a fire in its belly, a certain drive, a spark... something. It's a perfectly fine collection of songs but none of them really stand out, and when I've played the album from start to finish (several times now) it becomes a little boring part way through, the tracks all sounding quite samey, lacking the variation in style of their previous albums, some tracks outstaying their welcome a little.
Unlike the other records I can't point to any tracks as being favourites. "Elizabeth" is OK, "Safe" is quite good, but none of them really kicked me in the guts and made me want to jump around like "Innocence", "All I Ever Wanted", "All At Once", "Half Of Something Else", and the remarkable "Sometime Around Midnight" did in the past. It's not a bad album, but the band can do so much better than this. A disappointment.