5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Perfect blend of avant garde pop, 18 Mar. 2000
This Nottingham band may owe the odd nod to M.B.V or Pink Floyd but they've carved a totally unique sound in todays musical landscape. The opener 'A Beautiful Shape' unfurls with a tension and tightness that has you on tenterhooks from the very start, with Chris Olleys effortless vocal beautifully offsetting the churning, latent anger of guitar and keyboard. This theme of tension runs throughout the album, almost every track holding you in terrified awe, so that the odd moment when the flood gates open, the end of the epic 'Spy Song' or the closing screams on 'Brilliantly Cute', create a curious adrenaline rush, an uncontrollable gush of emotion. On other songs the tension becomes unbearable; 'Something Wild' layers guitar after guitar under Olleys anguished mantra and when your head finally feels like it will explode...nothing. '88-92-96' creeps and crawls better than anything this side of Joy Division, and the startling, piledriving 'European Me' leaves with your head ringing and your heart lifted. More conventional songs like the early Charlatans groove of 'Candlelight' maintain the tension while sounding like they could go top 40. The jewel in the crown though, is the beauteous 'Oh! Dear' where Olley contemplates love, life and the universe over a gradually building guitar motif, before every thing explodes in a maelstrom of vicious feedback, savage drums and abrasive chord changes. It finally reverts back to the simple motif, the dust settles after the end of the world.