Many a morning Getintothis HQ receives copious amounts of unsigned demos. Virtually all of them are truly unlistenable. Matt Eland has the unenviable task of sifting through them.
Everything on Red: Casino Way Out
Alarms are first raised by the band’s press pack, which features a photo of the boys wearing matching jumpers and braindead stares.
It makes them look like an indie Kraftwerk, but that’s not what they’re about at all. EOR are all about the rawk, in the vein of Failsafe via Muse via Enter Shikari, with a few ska beats thrown in. As such, they’re decent enough. However, the lyrics are exclusively wank, dragging them into the realm of shitty emo, a problem exacerbated by the singer’s affected American accent.
The Hopper Ward: Demo
These boys from Doncaster specialise in very appealing Johnny Cash style Americana, and this demo comprises of four songs that stay on the good side of country.
If We’re All the Same is all twanging banjos, while Some Girls Are Golden takes it up a couple of decades into Crosby Stills and Nash territory.
It’ll set no-ones balls on fire, but it’s a pleasant enough way to calm down after a good old fashioned bar brawl.
Weasel Terror: Demo
Another odd beast, Weasel Terror initially seem to take their cue from such psychedelic pop acts as Love with Arthur Lee.
Life is a Ride features some languid brass over a tacky guitar effect with some sampling low down in the mix, but there’s not much else to say since I can’t really hear what’s going on.
Fragile Lovers fares better – the keyboard comes to the fore, the vocals are higher in the mix and there’s generally better clarity, while the track as a whole recalls one of QOTSA‘s lighter moments.
It’s all a bit bland – the sense of fun is evident in the band’s name, the artwork, and the production – but never in the music, which is blandly conservative.
The Hidden Messages: Animal Actors
Check this out for lyrical genius: ‘I can’t take this any more/I’m hanging at the door/They’re banging on the floor.’
Straight out of the rhyming dictionary. It’s a shame, as there’s a good band buried in here somewhere – they have a good ear for melody, but it’s all a bit too nice until third track Out of Touch inserts a much needed shift into the minor keys.
It’s not until then that you get the impression that the singer believes what he’s saying.
More Than Normal: Demo
More than Normal sound a bit like early Green Day, spliced with more contempory British punk bands, such as 4ft Fingers and Spunge.
It’s tight, and good in the merits of its genre, despite being quite unoriginal. They fare better when the tempo increases, for example during Welcome to the War, but they still don’t have a personality of their own.
The lyrical content is creaky as well – they have political aspirations, but never get more incisive than ‘war is bad’ or ‘it’s okay to be an individual’. Preaching to the converted.
Battle to Exile: Demo
This Newcastle six piece remind me of Fightstar, very overwrought, very serious.
The songs all seem to overstay their welcome, when they could be more direct – they have a big sound that needs to be focused. They’re biggest strength is their bassist, who keeps finding ways of elevating the songs in the spaces he’s got.