Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Usual Pleasures - All In The Eyes

Hear The Track Here

Some guys are butt guys, some guys are leg guys, some guys are jug happy and some guys, myself included, are eye guys. For me, it's always been in the eyes. That chance contact where a choice is made and you both recognise it. Can't beat that. But here we are again talking about sex and that will never do. I blame The Usual Pleasures for bringing this track to my sordid attention. You may remember that we first encountered them through my blog when I reviewed Kevlar Hearts (January 2010), which I liked for its energy but contrasted against other tracks on their MySpazz site felt a bit lifeless. This is, after all, a live band and the best way to hear them is as close to live as possible given a recording environment. No matter, when the review was in they told me they had some new stuff in the works that better represented them...

And lo, it shall be....

Mark Fletcher, Chris Jones, Craig November and Sam Taylor make up the TUP entity and they hail, btw, from Sheffield, England also home to Artic Monkeys with whom they share a fairly common sound. Mind you, there's not much you can do with a couple of guitars, bass and drums, especially in a proto-punk format so everything kind of hinges on the quality of the song itself. As much energy and drive as you inject into the tune is going to prove worthless if the tune is flabby and weak, and that is more so in punk than any other genre. The best punk songs are clean and efficient, that's why demolish buildings. Now from the energy levels in All In They Eyes, you would think that The Usual Pleasures could do that trick but, somehow, it doesn't. Everything is there; the song with bellow-a-long chorus, the absolute breakneck pace, the obligatory vocal sneer so why doesn't it reach out and nut you in the face?

Tell you the truth, I'm still not sure and I've heard it enough times to form an opinion. Seriously, it sounds great, lively and energetic, the track is exactly what you would expect given the bands obvious punk leanings but it just doesn't really catch fire. For my money, some of the vocal at the beginning throws the listener off, the rhythmic emphasis from the drums isn't anything like hard enough, and the emphasis on the guitars to carry the tune is misplaced. I'd be willing to bet real life money that the band are more exciting in live concert and all this track does is prove that to me - but not much more besides. I think The Usual Pleasures WILL find that sound, and it's just a question of time, and this track will do in the meantime to show what the band could sound like.

Recommended energetic punk.

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