The Young Knives
This is the debut full length from Leicestershire art/punk-pop trio and it's a mixed bag, which ultimately falls short of the high praise given by many critics. They have been heralded as the new Pulp with their oh-so-English wit but they don't come close to Jarvis Cocker's originality. Their sound is basic and lead singer Henry Dartnall seems far too aware of himself. Current single Weekends & Bleak Days starts off with the classic lyric "Hot summer, what a bummer," and rarely goes much deeper than that. Whatever originality they possess seems to have been manufactured to suit a gap in the market.
But I said it was a mixed bag and with the bad stuff out of the way the second half of the album really picks up. Once they drop the bravado as on Another Hollow Line the quality starts to shine through. The vocals are toned down and sound more real while She's Attracted To tells the story of that situation we can all relate to when you punch out the father of your girlfriend and uses much chunkier instrumentation and almost Parklife spoken vocals that genuinely make you laugh. In Loughborough Suicide, the best and most resolved track on the album, we see exactly what they are capable of. All the English pathetic wit works perfectly here and brings to mind previous masters of this art form such as Morrissey. The line, "I'll never go down fighting" is repeated proudly as the song dips and rises to different tempos, it just makes me wish it wasn't the second to last track.
Although Voices Of Animals & Men is a good listen I can't give it a particularly high rating as it seems like the product of an extensive market research session with NME readers to find out just what kind of sound they want at the moment. This feeling effects every aspect of The Young Knives from their accents to their anti-indie image. Instead of the oh-am-I-having-a-photo-shoot-I-didn't-realise casual bullshit of bands like Razorlight, they adopt the slightly podgy, comfortable-living, conservative party, suit and tie look that's equally affected. But once you get past all of that they show great promise that I hope they can mature into.