Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thirteen Senses - Contact (Mercury)

You've got to feel a modicum of pity for up and coming indie bands that don't fit into the cocky, unkempt lad bracket. It would seem that unless you're as ugly as The View, as pompous as Bloc Party, or as arrogant as the Overrated Apes, you're trying to be Coldplay. Well, welcome to a review of Thirteen Senses that thinks outside the box.

Having duly dismissed the abundance of lazy journalism widely available, perhaps actually reviewing the album in question would be useful. Thirteen Senses, who made their fair-sized mark two and a half years ago, return with second album Contact. And, bearing a huge amount of character, it could well be what's required to embolden that mark.

Lead single All The Love In Your Hands functions exceptionally well as an ambassador for the album. Thoughtful and emotive, but with a good dose of gusto, it's hugely indicative of Contact's overall theme.

Animal, for instance, provides a dirty bass bed for a blend of uplifting vocals and soaring riffs, while Follow Me is a studio-honed gem of optimism. Mood-wise, it's not as easily nailed down, but the quality, at least, is consistent.

The overall heavier sound makes for a far meatier album than the first offering. That's not to say The Invitation was in any way insubstantial, merely that Contact appears to carry a confidence previously not on display.

Fans of the more pensive, introverted Thirteen Senses are still catered for to an extent with the wistful haunt of Spark, while Ones & Zeros sneakily reinstates the tone of the album, beginning life as a stripped-bare ballad before morphing into a mass of lengthy, heavy crunches.

While Contact undoubtedly contains music to get excited about, it doesn't have a particularly strong identity amidst a profusion of blokey-yet-sensitive guitar bands. Not that this matters a rat's ass once it's on your Zen Creative (NB: not iPod), but it raises questions as to whether it'll cause any additional ears to prick up outside of their current consumption. Still, you've got to admire the honesty - had they purposely crafted an album with the contrived intention of dollar signs, we'd have another second Killers album (and hey, at least we didn't liken them to Coldplay).

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