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Andy Tucker & The Deadbeat Club

Andy Tucker We received two versions of this CD, one minus the Andy Tucker prefix. Not sure if that indicates a power struggle or a marketing ploy, but it’s probably better without (sorry Andy). Whatever they call themselves, they’re a useful band. Singer/writer Andy looks like a slightly less glamorous version of the guy from Doves, though thankfully the rest of this Edinburgh-based five-piece are more photogenic. ‘Everything Turns To You’ is enjoyably melodic, sit-back-and-let-it-flow-over-you kind of music, with warbling Hammond, acoustic guitars and falsetto chorus. “Won’t you sign this plaster-cast around my broken heart.” Like it. To be honest I don’t really get the references quoted from another reviewer – “Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Keane, Coldplay, REM” – the Deadbeats have a lighter touch than most of those, and are consequently more entertaining. To me a more obvious comparison would be Del Amitri, though I realise that’s probably a kiss of death in commercial terms – it’s not meant to be. Maybe Athlete would be a better up-to-date pointer. The narrative folk-pop of ‘Circa 1985’ combines further smart turns of phrase with classy melodies and harmonies. Wee bit predictable, but sometimes you can have too much cutting edge. This could comfortably be a hit song. ‘I Wish You Well’ is, I admit, very Keane-like, even down to the vocal tone and occasional melody line. Not that I dislike Keane, but you can have too much of that carefully studied and slightly cloying melodrama sometimes. Too long too. But immaculately done. I’d like to hear more of Andy & co.
www.thedeadbeatclub.co.uk



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Redshed

Redshed This Rotherham five-piece sent a heavyweight package (DVD-size case, colour booklet, record-company-headed letter etc). Cuts no mustard here, but good effort. Already well established on the north of England circuit, this is their second EP, and there’s some good stuff here for sure. I couldn’t help feeling, though, that the title track ‘Boundaries’ doesn’t quite make the impact they want it to. I’d guess this song means a lot to the band – a statement of intent, in a ‘this town ain’t big enough for us’ way. But it needs tightening up to be as effective as they’d like – the hooky guitar riff and solo are fine, but the other instrumental breaks and fills don’t add much. And the uneventful 30-second intro is not a great start to an unfamiliar demo. Keep it for the live version. ‘Broken Rule’ has an infectious dynamism, Foo Fighters meet the Kings Of Leon, with an excellent screaming chorus that gets inside your head. But again it could benefit from some choice editing, especially the over-repeated guitar fills. ‘No Need For Questions’ adds energetic ska (a style back in the mainstream largely thanks to Preston’s Boys). Lyric of the day: “Hope you bleed from your lungs, they are black like your soul”, delivered in three-part harmony. ‘Testament’ blends big rock riffs with Clash-style punk-ska and a whiff of Big Country (remember them?) in the harmonised guitars... but somehow it works. Some strong ideas in here, which will improve with honing. The future could be bright for Redshed.
www.redshedlive.co.uk



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Sam Cutting

Sam Cutting This demo offers two less-than-cheery ditties from Sam’s seven-track ‘Petrified’ EP. ‘Morphine’ is a slight song, musically, but it’s powerful in its lyrical content and delivery. Sam’s tremulous voice (sounds worryingly like he’s singing from personal experience here, even though he’s only 19) is accompanied only by his almost-as-tremulous acoustic guitar, plus the occasional accidental extraneous noise – something that sounds like a sleeve button knocking against the guitar body. Kings Of Leon come to mind again in the straining vocals, which are nicely un-selfconscious, and strangely haunting, especially in the desperate plea from the chorus: “I don’t want you seeing me falling from my brain.” Second track (don’t know the title) is even more sparse, and much more ‘English’ in its vocal delivery. With the guitar part resembling a slowed-down version of McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’, it sounds almost like a renaissance lute ballad. The recording is technically flawed again (at times the guitar and vocal both distort from being too close to the microphone), but you get the feeling Sam is far too caught up in his songs to care – which is not really a bad thing. In his case the songs and the feeling are everything, and the studio niceties can be sorted later. Very raw and far from perfectly executed, but I like it. I’d be keen to hear more from Sam, to see how he progresses.
www.samcuttingmusic.vze.com



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Transformer

Transformer A five-piece band from Belper in Derbyshire, UK, this is their first demo after just over a year together and a “handful” of gigs. It’s a nicely-pitched package too – professionally presented, but not overfussy or overblown, and the biog is positive and realistic rather than bragging in tone. ‘Gotta Getaway’ starts with a great wiry guitar riff – you can hear the Stones influence in the ‘Satisfaction’ fuzz and chiming piano. (The band’s professed inspirations are mostly Sixties-based – Stones, Beatles, Who – but there are some Seventies and Eighties signposts, especially in the guitar playing.) On ‘This Sound Is For Free’ you can spot the Roger Daltrey stylings in the vocal – and a presumably unintentional steal from ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. There’s even a wild early-Seventies-type synth solo in there. But if anything there’s a bit too much of the frenetic guitar soloing. The ballad ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ has a classy piano intro and beefy acoustic guitar chords, though the song itself is on the cheesy side (their version of a late-night dancefloor groper). It’s the weakest of the three, though lead guitarist Adam tries his best to add edge with almost continual soloing. Again the band’s enthusiasm shines through, despite a patchy arrangement. All in all Transformer deliver an energetic sound that makes you want to see them play live. (We’re pleased to note they’ve just been offered an eight-month record deal with indie label E3. Best of luck with that – let us know how it goes.)
www.transformerband.com



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Citizen Erased

Citizen Erased Terrible name for a band. Wasn’t even a very good name for a song when Muse used it. This five-piece from Chester have an amusing line in self-written biogs and blogs (they do love their biscuits), but that gives no indication of the dourness of the music. ‘Idiot King’ starts with an attention-grabbing Dick Dale-style guitar roll, but it’s not until the heavily reverbed singing comes in that you get the true flavour of Citizen Erased. And it’s a bit sour. Those wired vocals are not distinctive enough to get away with being so tuneless. The arrangements don’t help – the first, ponderous instrumental break is an uncomfortable lull, and even the faster drum-led rock section fails to excite. ‘Narrow Street’ is stronger, despite being musically more basic. It’s way too long, though, at over eight minutes. Some good ideas (nice bass and drums) but it needs more focus. The incongruous change of chord sequence near the end sounds like it’s pasted on merely because it’s fun to play. May be fine as an onstage freakout, but it doesn’t work in audio terms alone. Who do they sound like? Well, making comparisons with other bands usually reveals more about the writer’s listening history than the band’s, but to me it’s fuzzed-up Joy Division, with vocals like Ian Curtis-meets-Nick Cave, in a cave – but less emotional depth or power. Still, comments on websites suggest the band is attracting a small but faithful cult following, so there is a potential audience out there.
www.overplay.co.uk/citizenerased



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