Harrisons - No Fighting in the War Room
Every now and then on a messageboard someone posts how much they miss Menswear and there'll be a brief conversation about other 'lost' bands of the ilk. Bands who managed a couple of decent singles - and maybe an album - before disappearing completely. It's a world where Shed 7 are warmly remembered and Echobelly CDs sit unplayed (but never Ebayed or taken to the charity shop). Harrisons are that kind of band, you feel. A band who a small number of afficianadoes will covet and remember in years to come, but who will never justify much more than a stub on Wikipedia.
There is a substantial hint of 'earnest young men' about No Fighting in the War Room that sits it alongside the works of Hard-Fi and The Enemy, of working class lads in smart casualwear, talking intensely about their lives and surroundings. A world where your Dad still cries along to Jam b-sides and "Employment" was a defining release.
Opener "Dear Constable" sets out a typical stall: scratchy Monkeys guitar gives way to dub-breakdown. It's whitebread Brit indie that could've been made at just about any time during the last 15 years. Frontman 'Jubby' (one of his colleagues is called 'Birchie' which probably tells you everything you need know) is a mix of Pete Wylie and Shaun Ryder, a sensation that reaches its apex during the sixth track ("Take It To The Mattress") with its protagonist falling victim to the curse of the 19th century Asian immigrant: opium. What was wrong with mixing aspirin and fizzy pop in a slightly dangerous manner, eh? And if your mates aren't falling victim to old-fashioned drugs, they're "zombies" stuck behind computer screens. Damn you, interweb!
"Monday's Arms" has the gall to rip off The Bravery. That's not a good thing.
Do you remember The Milltown Brothers? Wikipedia insists they released two albums in 1991 and 1993. It took them another 11 years to issue anything else. That's the reality of life in a Britpop band. It makes getting a trade and a family sound positively appealing.