The Blackout

Start The Party

Written by: TL on 24/02/2013 17:46:37

I've been sort of a fan of The Blackout ever since their live show first made its impact on me back in 2008 when they were still touring their first LP. So why have there been few things I've felt less like doing, than listening to the band's fourth album, which has been out for a few weeks by now? The answer is right there in "Start The Party"'s title. Album by album, The Blackout have continually moved towards being all energy and no substance. If their debut "We Are The Dynamite" flashed a flamboyant intent to make something happen - albeit somewhat vague on what that something was - it's become increasingly clear by each Blackout album that the Welsh sixtet have become the kind of band for whom writing music is just a neglibible task that needs to be taken care of so they can do what they live for, namely tour.

Seeing the band live, this sort of makes sense, as they've made themselves a reputation of putting on a show that, night in and night out, is among the most explosive, frantic and raunchy that you can see these days. Good for them. Here on record however, it is painfully obvious that The Blackout have nothing to offer lyrically or musically beyond the barest minimum. Cliché rock'n'roll riffs give way to cliché solos in songs that, if it weren't for the punch of the distortion, would essentially be bare-boned pop songs that are all seemingly in some way about the importance of not letting anybody around you prevent you from having a blast every single day of your life. The irony seemingly being that in their eagerness to live fast and make memories of every night, The Blackout seemingly fail entirely at making a memory of even a single song. (and considering the bandname, perhaps at making any lasting memories at all?)

I know that rock'n'roll traditionally is a stupid genre where everything is always a variation of the same themes of sex, and rebellion and heart-break, but The Blackout do so little to fill in the blanks, that even calling them the AC/DC of post-hardcore would hint at a depth that simply is not there. I know the instrumentation here works, but it's just in such a rehashed and calculated manner. Moreover, it's starting to get absurd how Sean Smith appears as the band's frontman, when his increasingly tuneless howls are getting less and less room next to the ever improving singing of his partner Gavin Butler.

You see when "Start The Party" works - in all its low charm and vulgarity - is either when the tempo is kept high enough for the lack of depth be less of a problem (see: "We Live On" and "Start The Party") or when Butler takes charge of some halfway decent melodies (see: "Take Away The Misery" and "Running Scared"). Still even when it works best, this is the sort of record that shouldn't really be enjoyable unless you have your brains or attention firmly switched off. And in such a scenario, like when you're piss drunk and thinking strictly with your libido, I think think it's only about a six. If you have your senses with you, this is fast going to feel like a four or worse. So how does one grade it? I'm not sure, but honestly I've been so tired of trying to extract depth from an album that doesn't have any, that I'm just going to go for the happy medium and leave it at that. The Blackout = now strictly a bone-headed live band.

5

Download: Running Scared, We Live On, Start The Party
For The Fans Of: Lostprophets, The Automatic, Dear Superstar
Listen: facebook.com/theblackoutband

Release Date 21.01.2013
Fierce Panda / Epitaph / Cooking Vinyl

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