Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: The Enemy - Streets in the Sky

 Being one of the final rock bands to have singles appear within the top ten region of the UK single chart with Away From Here and Had Enough, Coventry's The Enemy have been one of the many bands to experience their brand of hook-filled powered up indie rock fall out of the public eye. And yet, I've never seen any indie rockers with previous chart success turn bitter when such success disappears. These days I am frequently ashamed with what the Charts have on offer. The fact that The Enemy are still seen with high regard is they've also moved on graciously and are now more respected in circles of rock music. I mean, looking at the performance on their third album Streets in the Sky, how could they not be?

 Of course, with this tangent about their rock credibility boosting, Streets in the Sky still carries a large pop-based mentality. Across the album, an exciting method of song arrangement exists where big hooks always come out of nowhere and cause some kind of fist-pumping, head-banging reaction from listeners.
 It's achieved best on the likes of Saturday and Like a Dancer, both filled with massive choruses and poppy hooks played out on hyper-active buzzsaw riffs and the rousing sing-along vocals of energetic frontman Tom Clarke. Both manage to serve as bright life-affirming indie anthems with lots of heart, the kind of music that with the UK finally being found by the sun in 2012 are the sound of a rock n' roll summer.
 The whole summer attachment to this album is fairly crucial, for all we know the band could well have had this album ready for ages but just waited until the weather changed for the brighter to unleash their sunny anthems. It's clever marketing or an entirely coincidental advantage for the band. Chirpy indie rock is the exact kind of music you'd want for this kind of weather. Have you ever heard anyone talk about how great a time they had sunbathing while listening to Paradise Lost? Of course not. So, yes the summer attachment is important here.
 The band's sheer levels of energy on this album does make it more than a simple sunbathing album though, and while. While at no point do the band reinvent the wheel of alternative rock, the range of scuzzy riffs, driving basslines and pouncing drums makes the album a constant excitement of upbeat melodies and rhythmic vibrancy, and with song commands like Get Up and Dance, it would have to be.
 So, their name might not be big in the spheres of pop music anymore, The Enemy certainly play as though they still are, as Streets in the Sky boasts some of their biggest hooks and most pulsing performances. Whether they reach the hard rock scales in terms of how full-on they play or become much more intimate and delicate, theirs always a breathtaking level of excitement and freshness to be found. It might not be summer just yet, but with Streets in the Sky, fuck it. Every day is a summer day!

 The Enemy's Streets in the Sky is out now via Cooking Vinyl. The band will play at Whitehaven Festival on 3rd of June, T int he Park on 8th of July and V Festival from 17-19th August.

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