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Accomplished debut from Coventry's finest
on 22 November 2007
After a gruelling schedule of UK tours, two smash-hit singles and a whole world of hype, "We'll Live And Die In These Towns" the now long and eagerly awaited debut album by Coventry 3-piece The Enemy surpasses all expectations.
Although Coventry's unlikely looking new rock sensations are unusually reluctant to offer up the names of their musical influences, "We Live And Die" is an album that reveals it's many roots as readily and as reassuringly as the most painstakingly completed family tree. At times Clarke's voice is almost scarily reminiscent of a young Paul Weller, and several tracks, most notably the title track, take on a fittingly Jam-like feel. There's an immediate, all-consuming energy to We Live And Die that echoes Oasis' classic debut. Add to that a swaggering, over confident attitude conjured up by Tom Clarke's invigorating vocals, and no doubt inspired by a similar working background to the Gallaghers, and a more than passing resemblance to the Manc legends early sound and attitude is complete. Throw the Sex Pistols, The Verve, and The Who into the mix and you're still only scratching the surface. Although comparisons to such lofty names are all well and good, to imply The Enemy are somehow lacking their own sound would be doing them a disservice. These young lads have welded together the sounds of their influences with a skill and unwavering confidence that belies their inexperience. More punk than Oasis will ever be, more Brit-rock than The Sex Pistols ever could have been, this is high octane inide rock n roll that sounds less like the Stereophonics and more like the Pigeon Detectives getting a kicking for pissing off the Clash's roadies.
The tone of the album is set from the very first bars of opening track, Aggro, and carries on from there at a blistering pace. Pounding drum rolls demand your attention, screaming guitars grab you the by the lapels, before Clarke's intoxicating vocals shake you back and forth "Call the pol-eeeeece, `cos things are getting ugly!" You're left in no doubt that The Enemy are not messing about. Only one track (the gloriously uplifting This Song) breaks the four minute barrier, and the title track aside there are no extended intros, no long drawn out outros, what you get are short sharp bursts of attitude, at times raucous, at times reflective, always lyrically depicting a recognisably gritty image of life in provincial England whilst musically screaming an infectious devil-may-care optimism. We'll Live And Die offers something that so many albums aspire to without ever delivering, it's got something to say, and it says it with attitude.
On this offering, The Enemy promise to be far more than just another bunch of Northern(ish) teen rockers making it big on the post Arctic Monkeys bandwagon. A chest-beating, foot stomping, call-to-arms of a record, this is quite possibly the most accomplished debut of it's kind since Definitely Maybe was unleashed on an unsuspecting public all those years ago, an evocative rallying cry certain to strike a chord with working class lads in dead end jobs the length and breadth of the country.
And the timing couldn't be better. With Oasis on gardening leave playing with the super band formula, this nation's heartbeat is crying out for a new soundtrack. This might just be it.