Review Summary: This album isn’t terrible, its just far too dull, mundane, and samey to warrant more than a few listens.
The Enemy – a trio of boys emerging from Coventry in northern England - are a band all about passion and energy. At first, the energy distributed by the tight songs with catchy choruses is almost overawing, and, although the music is hardly technically proficient, comes off as a good listen. The problem is that after the first listen, it all becomes too repetitive, and it’s all been done better by, lets face it, better bands.
The Enemy Are:
- Tom Clarke: Lead vocals, Guitar, Piano
- Andy Hopkins: Bass Guitar, Backing vocals
- Liam Watts: Drums
Typically many albums like this are very guitar centred, with intelligent riffs driving the songs forward, and providing a good energy for the listener, while the rest of the music just blends into the background. I would say that, in this respect, this album delivers exactly what it promises. The guitar work is generally effective throughout the entirety of the album, with perhaps the exception of 'Happy Birthday Jane'
and 'Your Not Alone'
where the guitar takes the back seat to the vocals. Funnily enough however, the best songs on the album are the songs where the guitars are toned down, allowing the vocals to lead, rather than attempt to keep up, and I'm certain that if the majority of the music was like ‘We’ll Live And Die In These Towns’
, then this album would get perhaps a 3 or 3.5.
Unfortunately, saying this for the most part Clarke’s vocal performance is too timid in respect to the guitar, which causes a weird and undesirable effect. The vocals are hugely inconsistent, and, as mentioned above work best on songs like 'Your Not Alone'
where the vocals are actually quite good. However, on the other end of the stick, we get given some pretty unimaginative singing, such as on ‘It’s Not OK’
where the vocal performance is oh so unoriginal, and fairly half-assed.
The lyrics are also pretty sub-par; characteristically many of lyrics seem to be about living dreary monotonous lives in scummy towns. Ironically, the success of the band will assure this teenage trio that they won’t have to. The lyrics are for the most part poor, the sort of corny lyrics that Alex Turner or the Gallagher brothers would throw in the bin. Every second line seems like a cliché, but even this could work well with a better vocalist than Tom Clarke.
The drumming is also adequate, generally keeping a good beat and rhythm. The brilliantly titled ‘Technodanceaphobic’
is the only song that attempts to be really drum driven. Unfortunately this doesn’t work particularly well as the drumming is just too average. However, to be fair to the song, the bass riff is incredibly catchy, and the vocals aren’t half as bad as most on the album, saving the song from the sort of dullness found in ‘Happy Birthday Jane’
and ’40 days and 40 nights’ [/b]
Onto the songs themselves, and, while a few are good, many are pretty bad; it is one of those albums where in order to get to the good stuff, you need to sift through the crap. ‘Aggro’
is a very bad opening track. It doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the opening to the album, and is probably the only truly bad song until the end of the aforementioned ‘Technodanceaphobic’
. Another dismally poor track would be ‘Happy Birthday Jane’
, a song so dreary that it will put most people to sleep. The highlight of the album is in the middle of the album, where the one-two punch of ‘We’ll Live And Die In These Towns
and ‘Your Not Alone’
give the album false hope of exceeding expectations. Both songs slow the tempo of the album down slightly and although they are a . The former is probably the most honest song on the album. The music is restrained to such a level, that Clarke's vocals actually lead the rest of it, creating the sort of music that I expected when first picking up this album. The latter is also an incredibly restrained song, but is also probably the most emotionally involved track on the album, which is a positive in my book.
Overall, this album is infuriatingly mediocre. There are one or two very good tracks indeed, but there is also a lot of filler, and, on repeat listens it is clear that many of the tracks do sound the same. Although the start of the album is promising, the lifeless ending more than cancels this out. I can see this band being much better live than on record, but having never seen them, I couldn’t back that up with evidence. If you are a fan of this type of music, then I suggest you find the singles (there are many of them, at least five) and see what you think before buying the rest of the album. If you are not a fan of the style, then I recommend you steer clear altogether, as there is nothing that will change your mind on the genre.
- Good guitar work for the most part of the album
- The title track, and ‘Your not Alone’ are really very good tracks.
- Inconsistent vocals from Tom Clarke.
- Poor end to the album
- The dreary ‘Happy Birthday Jane’
Overall 50/100 = 2.5 average