Shooting At Unarmed Men - Yes! Tinnitus!
Mclusky were, quite possibly, one of the greatest bands never to gain the respect they deserved. Championed by Steve Albini they created some of the most exhilarating indie rock to ever come out of the UK. It was not to be though and splitting after the quite tremendous The Difference Between Me and You Is That I'm Not on Fire, it was the bassist Jon Chapple who broke out first and released material as his in between band, Shooting At Unarmed Men, with a debut EP last year. Replacing one of the members, this is a reformed and refocused band on this debut album.
From the outset, however, it's impossible not to compare this to any of the Mclusky material. Though not as rough around the edges as some of Mclusky's tracks, there's an air of almost calm direction to proceedings. The vocals are delivered in the same half shout, half singing voice and the lyrics, in places, still have the ability to put a smile on your face (complete with great track names as well), but there's something missing. It all sounds a little flat, there's no energy behind the playing. The band sound tighter than on their earlier demos and EP's but the spark that ignited them, the rhythm that made them tick, has vanished. Pat Yourself on the Proverbial is a slow dirge of a track that plods along for nearly five minutes going nowhere, and yet it's followed by I Cry for No Man, clocking in at under two minutes, and is a quality slice of post-punk aggression that would easily have fitted on a Mclusky record.
There's a feeling that Chapple has lost his quality control. There's no denying that he has the ability to twist guitar lines and write witty lyrics, but there's too much dull averageness here and not enough aggression for your pounds and pence.