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Endless Now CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B0058SHV8I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

Dalston three-piece Male Bonding's rise to relative glory was swift: one minute, so it appeared, they were hammering out lively, boisterous three-chord shows in their friends' kitchens, and the next they were a seldom-seen British signing to the illustrious Sub Pop imprint, for whom they debuted with 2010's Nothing Hurts LP. Yet for all those who were taken by these perpetual underachievers' unassuming pop suss and heavy-lidded grunge stylings, just as many punters were generally left puzzled - despite a cheerful melding of fuzz-pedal energy with melodious yet agreeably off-key vocals, both Male Bonding's sound and their success seemed to be allied with a curious fashion agenda, a retreat from the here and now to the check-shirted slacker chic of the early 90s.

It's a problem that's only exacerbated by this swift follow-up, which portrays a band still with shoulder-shrugging faux-teenage inarticulacy high on their agenda, amidst a delivery of doped-out Ramones-y monomania which can make this album's 36 minutes feel like an hour. The problem is not so much that the older listener will be reminded of post-Nirvana also-rans like Bivouac and Superchunk, or the strains of Steve Lamacq's voice on the Radio 1 Evening Session. On its own terms, Endless Now's combination of amped-up energy and pop ear-candy is neither salty nor sweet enough to really leave an aftertaste. The ineffable charm that the band possesses does elevate them above similar nostalgia-loving sorts, like their much-feted yet enormously underwhelming contemporaries Yuck, but it can't save them from the sheer monotony of the ditties here. Even standout cut Bones drags on for a brow-furrowing six-and-a-half minutes, and the balladic The Saddle comprises the only welcome break from the dispiriting barrage of full-pelt drumming and can't-be-arsed tuneage.

In an era in which the whole notion of indie rock is arguably looking in dire need of a good lick of paint, the paradoxically fashionable anti-glamour of Male Bonding can't help but seem a curiously retrograde indulgence. On this evidence, we're dealing less with Endless Now than Perpetual Yesterday, and all the ennui that implies.

--Jimmy Martin

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Male Bonding's sophomore long-playing release is titled in such a way as to evoke strong feelings of living for the moment. If the band isn't then overly concerned with the future, there is evidence nevertheless for their collective evolution. For Endless Now, though not far from the mile-a-minute slacker punk of the London outfit's thrilling debut, is substantially different.

Cleaner in terms of both production and execution, it also doesn't have the acoustic-grunge-garage-shriekback variety of its predecessor and it comes with a more identifiable air of commercial presentability. All the same, Endless Now is no chart-bound write-off. True, there are no obvious standouts along the lines of the pogoing "Pumpkin" or the tumbling jangle "Franklin", but what the album lacks in rough `n' ready cuts it makes up with pop-ready hooks.

Thus, energetic punk tempos bounce around the breathless running order. John Webb and Kevin Hendrick's shared vocals are intelligible now too. The thing is though, 2011's Male Bonding are more than likely going to have to win a whole new audience as a result.

The strength of the beefy guitar and drum work on the single "Bones", as well as on the lively opener "Tame The Sun", should win those fans easily. Yet, more anonymous outtakes such as "Seems To Notice Now" and the forgettable "Channelling Your Fears" may prove stumbling blocks if given too great an exposure.

All credit to Male Bonding for branching out. The common-or-garden fuzz of Nothing Hurts would now sound laboured if reanimated afresh. Understandably, the band are therefore still finding their feet and exploring their options. It seems though that overall Endless Now is so stuck in mid-to-late 90s power-punk that we can't help but hope influence is drawn from further afield on any next outing.

Advised downloads: "Bones" and "Tame The Sun".
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Format: Audio CD
Ok I admit I was at my most impressionable music-loving years between 1992 and 1995 so this is something of nostalgia bait. Still I am not sure why Jimmy Martin is reviewing this when scuzz, melodic, punchy US indie-rock stuff is not his cup of tea. Although I admit he is far from alone in failing to appreciate the likes of the infectious merge heroes Superchunk this side of the Atlantic.

Anyway, this unheralded (again at least on their home soil - they were snapped up to Sub-Pop over in the US) band released their second album which took the fertile, adrenalised hooks of their fine, if slight "Nothing Hurts" debut album and refined them into a less ramshackle, almost civilised sound. Crucially though unlike the majority of acts, they don't seem to have exhausted their songbook and lost their verve by the time of their sophomore. A truly exciting listen which is a surprisingly rare combination of three forms of indie-rock all from the early-mid 90s. Its one-third the US lo-fi vintage (the skewed dynamics pf Pavement, Superchunk, Pixies) one-third the more bubblegum, energetic bounce of other US acts such as the Lemonheads and Fountains of Wayne, whilst the final third represents the shoegazey British vocals and harmonies of Ride, Adorable and Chapterhouse. To be honest with that Venn Diagram of influences they could all be Spurs supporting (ok , I know, this is their year!), Bob Diamond loving short-selling bankers and they would still have found it a challenge not to enter my affections.
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