A guaranteed route to second album success is to significantly alter your sound. Or, more accurately, a guaranteed route to second album success is to make people believe you’ve significantly altered your sound. Coventry rock trio The Enemy are about to release their second album after their debut, We’ll Live And Die In These Towns established them as lad-rock for the noughties, but with a political savvy that belied their youth. In truth, this political savvy extended to nothing more than saying “suburbs, right, they’re crap. And if you live in one, you’ll be an estate agent. Or in The Enemy.” These two fates are, it could be argued, equally useless.
The sound of the band’s debut was sickly brazen in its continual reference of the mod scene, utterly irrelevant in any pseudo-intellectual posturing it offered and lapped up by the nation’s beer-swillers. A magnificent success. The return of the band sees them advancing, like a hare to the present, from The Clash to The Stone Roses, from the 60s to the 80s. No Time For Tears, the first glimpse of their Music For The People LP is, if it considered symptomatic of the record as a whole, an overblown exercise in making one’s diminishing returns sound like an evolutionary step.
Ludicrously bombastic, particularly with singer Tom Clarke’s gnarled yelping, it sounds like Kasabian had they been born a decade earlier. This might be cheering to some, but for those who privilege invention over inelegance, this is reflective of a tortuous four minutes. “We gotta get out the city” screams the bluesy chorus (presumably intending to say “out of”, or at the very least “outta” rather than implying that you could fit a city in your pocket, perhaps, and then present it at will), replete with identikit baggy octave-spaced vocals over shockingly uninspired two-chord guitar proclamations. Elsewhere, we’re told that, as if we didn’t know and as if we couldn’t all see it ourselves, that Britain’s full of screwed-up chip paper. Lyrical barbs that were invented for the last generation. There’s nothing to distinguish or recommend.
The worst part of this scenario is that, despite how much the righteous indie press will protest, it will work on the great and proudly unwashed. Chris Moyles played it the other day and said it sounded ‘massive’ or something equally dense, and it will no-doubt resonate amongst the pre-existing fanbase that The Enemy have managed to collect and patronise. Whether it will garner them any new adulation from morons remains to be seen, but the required beef-up of their sound is a tried and tested winner.
Should you be in need of having your intelligence insulted, assaulted, thrown down some steps and left to decompose amongst the ketchup and gherkins that mingle almost poetically with the blood of stabbed kids in a shocking but potent metaphor for modern British society, go here. Or here.