British India
Guillotine


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
June 22nd, 2008 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite some clear weaknesses, British India deliver a very good debut album which includes some memorable highlight tracks that successfully combine raw rock & an energetic dancey post-punk sound.

“You make friends with ugly people, so you stand out in a crowd”. These are the first lyrics which greet the listener on British India’s debut album ‘Guillotine’. We can only hope that the young band from Melbourne – Australia do not take such shortcuts throughout their career as if this album is anything to go by, they have a lot of potential to fulfill in the future.

The terrific opening track which carries the above lyrical line is 1st single ‘Black & White Radio’. Not only does it do an excellent job of opening up this album, but it is also a downright great song in its own right which sums up British India’s sound fairly well. Urgent sounding, catchy & raw, the song successfully pulls off that difficult-to-find combination of rocking and dancey all at once.

And therein lies what may be British India’s main weapon to strike it big in the musical world; Their ability to mesh musical styles relatively seamlessly. Broadly classified as Alt-Rock, their music includes tinges of indie, but then builds on that with a more modern post-punk sound. To cap it all off, the band throw in what may be their secret ingredient of some good old-fashioned Aussie pub rock, which will have you both banging your head and tapping your toe all at once.

2nd single ‘Tie Up My Hands’ is also impressive in showing British India’s ability to pull off a more melodic and mainstream track which is borderline poppy, yet still has that raw sound that defines the band. Lead vocalist Declan Melia does a good job of adding some grunt towards the end of this song making it all the more worthwhile. Elsewhere, Melia clearly shows potential as he is full of energy, even if he sometimes errs towards yelling a little too much. On other occasions, he uses different techniques to add variety, such as in 3rd single ‘Run the Red Light’ where the verses are deliberately sung one word at a time to set up the effectively catchy chorus.

Lyrically, there is nothing deep and meaningful in British India’s work as they write mainly concerning current day society for the younger generation. If anything, their writing lacks some depth and clearly shows some patch-up work in the form of repetition. This then follows on to another arguable weakness on Guillotine; The overall lack of length as the running time clocks in at just 34 minutes.

Musically, the band can be opinion-splitting as there is nothing mind-blowing from a technical standpoint, but their ability to combine genres is impressively difficult to ignore. Furthermore, they occasionally use simple little guitar jangles cleverly to practically become the hook of a track, such as on ‘Russian Roulette’ & ‘Teenage Mother’. The latter track is especially impressive since it begins rather dark and ominously before building up an excellent beat that will leave you finding it difficult to sit still. Not to mention that it opens with the great line of “You’d look good as a teenage mother”!

The first 6 tracks of this album are clearly its strength and if they were to entirely make up a debut EP, then I would possibly be looking at a perfect 5 rating. Obviously then, it is a shame that this album runs out of steam a little towards the end. Nothing is too bad (in fact the 2 minute ‘Edgy Looking Clothes’ & up-tempo ‘Outside 109’ may have fitted in seamlessly earlier in the track listing), but none of the final 4 tracks are too memorable and the over-length of ‘Council Flat’ is rather tiresome.

So despite some of the clear weaknesses exhibited at times on ‘Guillotine’, the overall feeling derived from this debut album is most definitely positive. There are some memorable highlight tracks and the strike rate of hits compared to misses is more than sufficient, especially when considering the rather difficult mixture of raw rock and energetic dance-rock that British India play. In fact, all the weaknesses end up doing is showing how much room there is to improve for this already impressive young band.

Recommended Tracks: Black & White Radio, Tie Up My Hands, Run the Red Light & Teenage Mother.

The first 3 of those recommended tracks are available for streaming at http://www.myspace.com/britishindia



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
June 22nd 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, overrated band with a terrible singer.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope that's not the NSW bias coming out in you Dave. Nah, just joking, as I can actually see why some people wouldn't like him. As I said in the review, he has the tendency to yell a little too much when it isn't required. However, I believe that is balanced off by his energy which adds to some tracks.

AtavanHalen
June 22nd 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Dude, are you kidding? I love Melbourne bands, man.

billy33
June 22nd 2008


216 Comments


I like a couple of their songs, run the red light isnt too bad.

BTW, melbourne bands are awesome (Sleep Parade, Mammal and .hinge sooo good)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was definitely kidding Dave. I think when it comes to music, if anything we are a little loyal to Aussie bands full stop (irrelevant of the state), but even then it isn't huge loyalty because it will come down to the quality of the music more than anything else.
BILLY33, you have just added another band I must listen to when I get a chance; Sleep Parade. I really haven't had the chance as yet.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also on the MySpace page of the band (provided at the end of the review), you can stream what appears to be the new single off of a forthcoming album.
Hmmm, seems a bit bland to me compared to the better tracks off this album. But it's never safe to comment after only one listen.

Auldy
October 19th 2008


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album. The singer isnt the best, but he doesnt try and hide it, and aknowledges it his lyrics. I love the disco-style rock beat of Teenage Mother. Who's gonna do a review of 'Theives'?

AtavanHalen
October 19th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That's even worse than this album.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 19th 2008


3768 Comments


Yea, Theives really sucks, though I haven't heard this one.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Auldy
October 19th 2008


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Theives probably isnt as good as this, but they released them exactly a year apart. How many bands release their second album after only one year?

AtavanHalen
October 19th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Arctic Monkeys, You Am I, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, After The Fall...

Vooligan
October 19th 2008


3541 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Birds of Tokyo

Auldy
October 19th 2008


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mmmm You Am I....now theres a band who need reviews posted on this website

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been listening to 'Thieves' just ecently, so leave that review to me. It's a strange album to get my head around, so maybe give me a week or two. One thing's for certain; It's nowhere near as good as 'Guillotine'!!!
As for the short time between albums for British India, it definitely didn't help 'Thieves', but you do need to know that a lot of the songs on 'Guillotine' (practically the whole album) actually had been complete for some time & the band were simply trying to get the album released for a year or two.

Auldy
October 19th 2008


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So do you think that 'Theives' was rushed out?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2008


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm unsure that was the underlying problem Auldy, but since 'Guillotine' was indeed released as late it was, then yes, I think they could easily have afforded to wait 6 months to a year & either scrap some of the songs or improve on them over a time period.
A sneak preview of my review as such is that my highlight track is 'Funeral For A Trend'.

Auldy
October 19th 2008


351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I totally agree, another 6months or so of touring and recording probably would have done them some extra justice.

PS I was just asking your opinion if you thought that they rushed 'Theives' out, not like, suggesting otherwise.

AtavanHalen
November 8th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

These guys are hosting rage right now. They put together a pretty good list of tunes, pity their own songs sorta suck

taylormemer
November 8th 2008


4917 Comments


Probably one of the most boring guest programmers of the year.

AtavanHalen
November 8th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nah, man, they played some good stuff. Live TVOTR was especially good.



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