Harrisons - No Fighting In The War Room
In music, timing is everything. The Sex Pistols came along precisely when a voice for the disaffected youth of 1970s Britain was needed. The Smiths almost single handedly filled a massive gap between post-punk and rave. And Suede were fortunate enough to arrive at the very start of Britpop; they were quickly lost in the deluge that followed, but they still have a place in music history for kicking Cool Britannia off. Harrisons incorporate elements of all those bands. The only thing they lack is the timing.
The songs on the album generally fall into two camps- either strident indie funk or melancholic bed-sit balladeering. The gulf of difference between the two styles occasionally creates the impression that they’ve stapled two EPs together; that said, the band are fairly convincing at both, if never really managing to rise to the exceptional. The problem is that the often rather moving lyrics are couched in fairly predictable sounding songs. If they had broken into the mainstream before the Arctic Monkeys then this wouldn’t be a problem, but as with most of their peers from Sheffield, all too often it sounds like they’re following in the tracks of that more successful band, overshadowing the beauty and passion at the core of songs like the epic Simmer Away or Man of the Hour. Of course, they’re not entirely to blame for failing to make the same impact as the Monkeys (yet), but there’s nothing here that really makes them seem deserving of that level of mass adoration. And rewriting Angels, as they do on Little Boy Lost, isn’t going to help either…
No Fighting In The War Room is not a bad album, but it feels compromised by a lack of faith on the tunes side of things, and of course, the timing of its release. With so many similar bands fighting for our attention, we’re going to get fed up of them all sooner or later and move onto something new. There might not be a place for Harrisons then, which is a shame; there’s something here that could be special. But right now, this is a release that struggles valiantly to stand out and in the end fails.