Down in the PastMando DdiaoOut 7 NnovemberJust as the Scandinavians always seem to speak English better than we do, Mando seem to be able to produce better Britpop than we can. Their latest tender, Down in the Past, is true to Mando form; retro, fun, and shows evidence of artful song writing. It has resonances of Rrazorlight, the Libertines, and even The Kinks, yet somehow presents a tighter, more truely persuasive offering. Its racing energy and effortless funk cannot fail to infect even the most disengaged listener. For better or worse, the lyrics are not as poetic as is currently fashionable yet consistently entertaining: “Honey you just left me for a new one…it doesn’t matter baby ‘cause you hair is ugly, too”. Surely that resonates with the bitter and rejected in all of us?Coles CornerRichard HawleyOut NowColes Corner is named after an old Sheffield department store that becamea nocturnal rendezvous point for the city’s lovers and there is definitelya nostalgic feel to this dispatch from the wee small hours. Setting his familiarly world-weary voice against a warm orchestral backing that could have come from any number of monochrome Hollywood weepies,Hawley, a veteran of local Britpoppers Pulp, conjures up an oddly comforting mix of flaring optimism and gutting disappointment. However, too much of this seems studied rather than well observed and the lyrics in particular have the feeling of being slightly second-hand. Ultimately,Coles Corner lacks the surprises and genuine rough edges that distinguish recent sketches of urban romance from The Nnational and The Go-Betweens.I’m Not OK (I Promise)My Chemical RomanceOut 7 NnovemberThis re-release will have you pulling your hair out, either in sympathy with the angst-ridden pop-punkers or in despair at yet another Aamerican band singing about teenage misery. I’m Not Okay (I Promise) makes up for a lack of subtlety with a healthy dose of enthusiasm, as the east coasters pour their heart out, albeit in slightly simplistic terms. The melody is largely unimaginative, but in this strange and wonderful genre that makes for success. Even if it’s not too hip to admit it, you’ll be tempted to dust off your air guitar, and scream, shout and stamp your feet like you’re a fifeteen year old who just got dumped. This track will be forgotten,but for the moment is a satisfying piece of pop fun.
ARCHIVE: 4th week MT 2005