The Twang – Jewellery Quarter (B-unique) 03/08/2009

August 5, 2009 by  

jewellery quarter

Music journalism has been given a much needed kick up the proverbial in the last week. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about I’ll fill you in. The NME has got rid of its Brit-pop obsessed editor and appointed Krissi Murrion as the chief. She comes with a reputation of supporting only the most innovative of artists, and ‘hurrah’ has been the call from most quarters. So where does this leave the bands with a by-line to ‘90s Brit-pop that the NME has built up over the last few years?

The Twang was one of many to benefit from the previous musical culture. Very much a band that embodies all that encompassed ‘90s indie, they made their name off the back off sympathetic reviews and, admittedly, good live performances.

Their latest effort, Jewellery Quarter, still sounds like a rummage through your old record collection, with Mike Streets picking up the vocal duties, a comparison I’m sure they’ll love. Opener ‘Took The Fun’ is, like many of their previous efforts, an accomplished song, but one which does little to inspire due to its lack of innovation. Phil Etheridge’s lyrics attempt to act in contrast to the upbeat melodies, but ultimately the contrast does not fulfil its purpose. The song opens on ‘You took the fun, don’t think it’s yours to keep’, which is a good line, but it’s not delivered with the Morrissey- esque lament which is often needed to make such personal subject matter compelling and realistic.

Previous single ‘Barney Rubble’ is an amalgamation of John Squire lead Lines, Flowered Up Harmonies and a sample form Zki & Dobre’s ‘Give It Up’, which was made famous by Simply Red’s ‘90s hit ‘Fairground’, a concoction which will bring memories flooding back, but little else. ‘Put it on The Dance Floor’, tries to recreate the halcyon days of the Hacienda dance floor, with its repetitive bass heavy groove and catchy chorus, but ultimately leaves behind what made those days so heady.

The rest of the album is lyrically introspective, which may appeal to many listeners, but will turn just as many off, and it’s constantly underpinned by a retrospective soundtrack which draws together the key elements of the Shine sound of the early ‘90s scene, and nothing else.

‘Jewellery Quarter’ will prove a hit with those old enough to remember Ian Brown’s first swaggers and The Happy Monday’s hedonistic culture. However, for those born the other side of 1980 it will just sound like the revival of a bygone era that now finds itself musically redundant. If Krissi’s appointment signals nothing else than a need for more innovation in British music, it will at least send a sharp warning to those relying on past Brit-pop glories for their musical inspiration.

[rating:2.5]

By Chris Cummins


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