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    The War Poets

    Keeping Spiders 6 ( 2001 )
    Painted / Catapult / Hypnotise / Summer's Gone / Burden / Scott Walker / Half Life / Clockwork / Re-Vamp / Breaking You

    Manchester band The War Poets evoke memories of eighties/nineties UK indie guitar bands, but i've been trying to work out who exactly they remind me of. Maybe there's a little Joy Division, the lyrics are certainly serious. The vocals are convincing and the singers overall delivery is audibly passionate. The guitars remind me of a great band The Chameleons in some places - yet when the sound is fuller and the songs a little, dare I say, poppier ( not poppier in the usual sense, just containing good melody you can hum along to ) the guitars remind me of such bands as Ride, Swervedriver. A little early nineties guitar thing is going on, but that period is generally underappreciated, because Britpop happened afterwards. Besides, I actually had to think quite hard who they remind me of exactly, and in doing so, I feel I've done them a disservice, not because they're startlingly original, in the wider scheme of things - they aren't - just that the passion of the performances combined with the texture and sound of the guitars, and the sheer quality of the songs, really do convince. Incidentally, they've toured with such UK bands as Cinerama and as far as i'm concerned, deserve to be heard. They've got a song here called 'Scott Walker', and any band that pay tribute to Scott Walker already have my attention. Needless to say, it sounds nothing like Scott Walker, that great dark ballad poet of the sixties, or that weird percussive unfriendly avant-garde Scott of the nineties, either. Still, I don't mind that, it's a good song with a strong chorus that convinces and a textured, layered guitar sound.

    In a similar vein is the opening song, a highlight here, 'Painted'. I adore the guitars and drums bashing and fighting with each other, stabbing and biting and then the vocals - you wanna hear what he's saying. And then, my, the chorus - an utterly convincing chorus, wide-screen in contrast to the darkness the song initially evoked. Well, the darkness continues even through the chorus - but the chorus is akin to a shared grief. I keep expecting 'Catapult' to turn into 'Corduroy' by The Wedding Present, another UK noisy guitar band The War Poets remind me of and it makes sense of the tour with Cinerama, a band led by Wedding Present man David Gedge. I trust they went down a storm with the Cinerama and Wedding Present fans, presenting them with strong melodies on the one hand, then biting guitars and bashing drums on the other-hand. In 'Catapult', there's an instrumental section where the bass player proves he can play - he's playing melodies as well as filling out the overall sound. Too many bass players don't actually seem to DO anything, and with the astonishing success of groups like The White Stripes - maybe an endangered species! I sure as hell hope not, I love my bass guitar sounds. Anyway, i'm rambling - i'm sorry - but The War Poets do raise emotions in anyone that cares about music. This album right here is that kind of album, the kind to take seriously, and adore slightly, or even greatly, dare I say it.  Variety in sound is provided by the likes of the softer 'Re-Vamp', which boasts really good vocal parts in places. The bass guitar goes really funky through parts of the closing 'Breaking You' and 'Summers Gone' makes good use of keyboards to vary the overall sound.

    There is a darkness here, but light does shine through - it shines through the vocals, always convincing - the groups strong developed choruses and way with song-structure. They deserve to be heard, I said? They do. I can just imagine the likes of 'Summers Gone' being played to a crowd of devoted fans. Music fans who like loud drums, passion - and guitars that threaten to break you in two.

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    Readers Comments

    Steve Duckworth STEVESTEVELISA@aol.com
    I have just discovered this brilliant band, they should go very far indeed. Any gigs coming up soon?

    Jonathan Forbes jona_forbes@hotmail.com
    Very Good review, This band are awesome! Its a great album, but the live performances I saw a few years back were very memorable. Cheers Darran.


    top of page this page last updated 28/06/08


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