Tag Archives: British

2:54 – 2:54

UK sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow taught themselves how to play the guitar when they were teenagers. They’ve since recorded a bunch of songs under a name that may or may not mean anything. Maybe 2:54 was the exact time that they decided coming up with a proper band name was too hard and just said, “Fuck it”.

After a flurry of praise for their Scarlet EP, the Thurlow sisters’ self-titled debut is brooding, dark, dreamy, haunting. These are the words I am using to describe this album because writing music reviews is hard. Fuck it.

Artist: 2:54
Album: 2:54
Label: Fiction

Buy 2:54 2:54

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1204

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Eugene McGuinness – The Invitation To The Voyage

I’m not entirely sure who Eugene McGuinness is trying to be: ’70s David Bowie or late ’90s Robbie Williams. The Invitation To The Voyage is full of confounding juxtapositions; sonically shifting from spacey disco anthems to garage surf and trippy rockabilly.

McGuinness is so completely all over the radar that if he were a character from a movie he would be equal parts greasy sax guy from The Lost Boys and that dude who wore Abba’s poop around his neck in that movie about drag queens.

Artist: Eugene McGuinness
Album: The Invitation To The Voyage
Label: Domino

Buy Eugene McGuinness The Invitation To The Voyage

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1203

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The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

For a decade we have watched The Cribs grow from their lo-fi roots, and hung on every self-deprecating word. Even legendary guitarist Johnny Marr was not immune to the innate charm of the DIY garage rock the Jarman brothers cooked up.

Granted, The Cribs have never been wholly original. Their debut was released on the coattails of all those other rambunctious British bands of the early 2000s, however The Cribs’ ability to write killer hooks and towering choruses has given them a significantly longer lifespan than their contemporaries. Their fifth LP, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, is easily their best yet.

Artist: The Cribs
Album: In The Belly Of The Brazen Bully
Label: Wichita

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Gemma Ray – Island Fire

With serious competition at every turn, it’s little surprise that England’s Gemma Ray has meandered in the realm of cultural obscurity for the majority of her career. Her fourth long player, Island Fire, is quirky and soulful enough to catch the attention of selective listeners tired of that other Rey, but the album as a whole suffers from a serious case of dissociative identity disorder.

Some songs are light and playful to the point of being harmlessly forgettable, while others are so mean-spirited that they’re seared into your mind like that time you walked in on your parents bumping uglies.

Artist: Gemma Ray
Album: Island Fire
Label: Shock

Buy Gemma Ray Island Fire

*previously published by Rip It Up Publishing

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The Enemy – Streets In The Sky

In their relatively short career, The Enemy have been criticized for being an inauthentic, manufactured band at nearly every turn.

Most of the resentment stems from the fact that the band spends most of their records preaching about the class struggles and shackles of modern life, while playing to stadiums and darting around the globe in Learjets.

The only sin The Enemy is really guilty of is that they believe they are doing something more meaningful than playing pub rock anthems to drunken Brits that can relate to lyrics like:

“Half the kids who you grew up with,
Were pushin’ prams by the time that they were just sixteen”

Its safe to say that this record continues the downward spiral of self-parody that began with Music For The People.

Artist: The Enemy
Album: Streets In The Sky
Label: Stiff Records

Buy The Enemy Streets In The Sky

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Howler – America Give Up

So here’s the thing, I want to dislike this record for a number of reasons.

Reason #1: Front man Jordan Gatesmith looks like a wanker, but this could be because I’m on the wrong side of 25 and he’s not even 20 yet.

Reason #2: The album reminds me of how much I miss The Libertines.

Reason #3: My first impression of the album was that it was rubbish, but upon repeated listens I have (reluctantly) changed my mind. So I’m disappointed in myself, really.

Artist: Howler
Album: America Give Up
Label: Rough Trade

Buy Howler America Give Up

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Field Music – Plumb

Sounding like the bastard love child of Freddie Mercury and a pinball machine-obsessed Roger Daltrey; Plumb, the fourth album from England’s Field Music is getting rave reviews. I’ve read journalists describe the band as “exhilarating” and “brilliant”. If you want to seek out other reviews I don’t blame you, I’m not saying much.

In my defense, this album did nothing for me. It kind of sounded like the orchestral score to some Disney movie from the 40s. Fantasia, or something equally boring. I couldn’t even sit through the entire thing without doing something else. On a side note, I crocheted myself a hat for winter.

Artist: Field Music
Album: Plumb
Label: Memphis Industries

Buy Field Music Plumb

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