Review Summary: The Beatles’ first album was a crappy rush-job too, but at least it contained a couple of great covers.
Cajun Dance Party.
The title calls a myriad of images to mind. Cajuns. Dancing. Parties. Cajun dancing. Dance parties. Yes, yes, all things that are good.
One question: how exactly does one dance
to this shit
That’s not to say that Cajun Dance Party lack ideas or imagination. Quite the contrary, This Colourful Life
glistens with variety, be it guitarist Robbie Stern’s bottomless well of influences, from Harrison-esque melodies through meaty Slash-like leads, to the impressive attention paid by Stern and producer Bernard Butler (for it is he of Suede
fame) to ensure that each of the nine tracks are nothing but uniquely colourful. Rather, the London five’s debut effort is hampered by uninspired, unmemorable songwriting and a baby-proofed approach to recording and composing that ensures anything that could be described as edgy or life-affirming is, at best, lost in translation. Much has been made of the group’s diminutive age- they were mere sixteen year-olds when they released their debut single ‘The Next Untouchable’ in January of 2007. It’s a fact that makes Stern’s virtuosity all the more impressive, but does little else but help to explain the gingerness of their first feature-length release.
The considerable promise posed way back when by debut single ‘The Next Untouchable,’ that of the irresistible Mick Ronson-aping guitar hook, doesn’t seem entirely misplaced, however. If that track clocks in at an exhaustive five minutes, all is immediately forgiven in light of the beautiful standout ‘No Joanna,’ an old-time blues number (by way of the Smiths) that sees frontman Danny Blumberg, for a brief moment, emerge from Luke Pritchard’s effeminate shadow. Blumberg’s dour vocals could take the edge off the spiciest of curries, and they only serve to highlight the banality of his melodies and the frankly atrocious lyrical base. ‘No Joanna’ is an exception, even managing to withstand Bernard Butler’s attempt to mangle it with strings- an achievement less convincingly achieved by the otherwise impressive lead single ‘The Race,’ during which the singer offers the sage advice, “pick up the pace and enjoy the race.”
Whatever that means.
Elsewhere, however, The Colourful Life
is nothing short of a lesson in note-taking for the prospective music reviewer: the mercifully brief 35 minutes are pleasant and enjoyable, but utterly forgettable. Stern emerges as somewhat of a guitar prodigy, owing a considerable debt to Mssrs. Marr and Harrison, and even Mr. Bradfield on the otherwise vapid single ‘Amylase’ (which Butler does indeed succeed in butchering with strings), weaving heavy gain amid Blumfield’s gibberish-turned-mantra: “you’re the catalyst that makes things faster / Amylase will dry up plaster.” Astute observers of the British rock phenomenon will note the similarity to Noel Gallagher’s slightly more low-brow references to sinks full of fishes and dirty dishes on the brain, however astute observers will also note that Noel Gallagher has never taken himself this seriously.
While it’s tempting to blame Bernard Butler for the mess that is The Colourful Life
, just as he must cop most of the blame for ruining Ian Anderson’s career, his lack of studio guidance and insistence upon laying strings on top of anything resembling a hook is only part of the problem here. The band claim to have a second album ready for release later this year, which makes it all the more bewildering why they decided not to pool their resources and instead turned out such a half-formed collection of tracks. They can take some solace, as the Beatles’ first album was a crappy rush-job too, but at least it contained a couple of great covers.