Review Summary: A decent debut but relies too heavily on other well developed sounds.
An expatriate is a person which leaves their home country for another. This other country is normally one which is different in their cultural values. For example this could be Australia to Jakarta, Indonesia. This is exactly what frontman (Ben King) of the band Expatriate happened to him. Therefore should one expect to hear some different cultures mingled into their sound? Yes but it’s not the cultures which you would expect.
They try to take an American sound and blend this with a British sound. It works for the most part as they blend the American new-wave sound such as that similar to that of The Killers
while putting parts of the dance scene from Britain similar to that of !!!
. This could work a lot better if they did not actually come from Australia as it does not show the originality which is found in creating an Australian sound. They keep to mostly to the same formula within the songs such as having the same opening riffs. This is clearly heard in songs such as ‘Gotta get home’
which has the same riff throughout, although, the other instruments do show diversity in that song.
The instruments are good for the most part but sometimes they can get boring due to repetition. They don’t add much flair and energy to the songs. The formulas are the same as at least one of the instruments keep the same riff or beat to the whole song. This can be heard on songs such as ‘Spaces between’
as the drums don’t really go out of the comfort zone. This is the biggest flaw to the album as they show some talent throughout their debut album. However, when they do try to show diversity such as that on ‘You were there’
and ‘Only wanna love ya’
, the former is one which the slowest song and the latter shows some flair with the funky guitars. ‘You were there’
would have worked a lot better if it didn’t resemble that of the late Jeff Buckley
. It seems that they wanted to make a song dedicated to him; however, it gets very close to them plagiarizing him. ‘Only wanna love ya’
shows flair, energy and to some extent originality as the guitars are slightly funky, the vocals adds some variety as they show emotion and are less monotonous.
The major problem I felt throughout this album was the fact Ben King (singer) doesn’t show much energy or flair. However, when he does try something different it’s very hit or miss. Such as the opener ‘Get out, give in’
which shows some of the range which he can sing. He changes his tempo throughout the song and this gives the instruments some melody which is not heard on some of the tracks. He tries to create a slower song with ‘You were there’
but fails as he doesn’t have the range which he is trying to depict. Mr King does not have the same melodious flair or the great rock voice which Jeff Buckley had and this is easily heard. However, when he doesn’t sing such as that found on the final track ‘Are you awake’
it is a welcome change. This is because they create an almost Pink Floydish sound as they show some progressive elements.
In the midst of this is a decent debut album but lacks flair, originality and energy. However, when they do try it is a hit or miss as it is either something alike that of someone else or they show originality with some funky grooves. The instruments show talent but for the most part they are hindered by the vocals as they are the focal point. The vocals can get monotonous which is annoying and tedious. They don’t really live up to their name as they don’t put two different cultures into one sound.