Unloved – Killersongs
24/02/2006 § Leave a comment
Unloved describe their music as Blackberry rock – sweet and prickly. Someone should really tell these people that blackberries aren’t that prickly: maybe paw-paw rock would have been a bit more of a fitting name. Nevertheless, they do have one thing correct and that is that their music is not really metal. The band have been around since 1999 and have had a number of demos since then, Killersongs being only the second one that they will dare allow the public to hear since samples of the rest have been removed from their site due to the ‘poor sound quality’ which they doubtless feel is unreflective of their present state. Though that’s the polite way of putting it.
The years since 1999 have certainly given the band time to marinate their sound and come up with something quite different and though Killersongs is only five tracks long, it shows quite a bit of depth and variety. The EP kicks off with Your Greed, which starts with the soft strains of Shya‘s vocals on their own before the somewhat jazzy backing instrumentation comes in. This is something that becomes prevalent as the EP progresses – there seems to be a heavy jazz influence – but not in the fast, acid-jazzy kind of sense, but more in the mid-tempo bouncy way that leaves you feeling unavoidably jostled by the buoyant hoppiness of the clean guitar and springy drumming. Your Greed is probably the best song on the EP and in this way the disc peaks far too early, still, it manages to pack a respectable amount of variety into four minutes with quite a delicious distortion riff finishing the number. I love it when bands are able to mix jazz elements with metal properly – it seems to be quite a rare occurrence these days.
The next song, Heading Nod, is doubtless the strangest on the album with many more different sections to it, dominated by a clean plucked guitar line that seems intentionally out of tune with the vocals. It’s certainly a strange experience, maybe a little too strange for comfort, though later in the song a more accessible section appears which comes as quite a relief and feels like being allowed to catch your breath after a short sprint through some quite uncomfortable territory.
The accordions come out for the third track, Pandora, which is one of the more melodically pleasing songs, whereas Come Posing has some wonderfully honest lyrics the like of which I’ve only heard come from The Provenance. Indeed, Unloved seem to like toying with us musically and lyrically since Come Posing stops and starts all over the place: some passages run along with vigour only to stop a second later which leaves the listener feeling a little displaced and mildly shocked. In this way Unloved enjoy letting us get comfortable only to upset the balance a second later, a device which, though it may reflect some song’s subjects quite fittingly, is not always easy to take in or appreciate. The EP finishes with Drifting Away, a nothingy jangly-guitared song the likes of which you’d expect from a 90s indie band like the Bluetones.
Overall, Unloved certainly have a direction, which is not something that can be said for a lot of bands starting out, if you can call a band that’s been together for more than seven years ‘starting out’. There is a lot of vision and talent here but the progressiveness of the songs is quite misplaced – it’s certainly interesting to hear songs go awry in places but not to hear them collapse the next. Unloved may be trying to make us reconfigure our thoughts on what we liked to hear in female-fronted rock and metal but at the same time one has to ask why we need to further ourselves in this way, indeed, why we need to be bothered. And bothered we would be if their music were more interesting, and though it is worthy of note in places, there’s nothing here to keep you coming back for more.
Unloved certainly hold the key to making some very enthralling music and if they could concentrate on trying less hard to be innovative and different and could become more attuned to their own natural creative flow, they would be making very good music indeed. However, quite a lot of the time the numbers on Killersongs feel forced and much like the band is trying to jam a sub-genre into another sub-genre which results in quite a messy musical make-up. If Unloved could untangle their song structures a little bit and concentrate on the writing process rather than the musical overview of the final project, we could be in for something delectably and satisfyingly outlandish next time round.