Alternative music reviews

June 20, 2005

To Die For by Undercut

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Right then, the obligatorily details out of the way first:- Undercut are from Bristol, have five members with names like Dave, Matt and Wayne. Using my snap judgement upon listening to the title song ‘To Die For’, it sounds like the Foo Fighters and I like the song very much. Vocalist Johnny Benn has a relaxed, understated voice which if I didn’t know the band came from sunny Bristol, England would have pegged down as American. The songs, especially ‘So Beautiful’ have that radio-ready jangle which so many bands aspire to. Like so many modern British bands, the influence of Coldplay rears its head, mostly in terms of repetitive clean-tone guitar strumming, combining verses with energy-sapping pace with brief soaring climaxes.

Safely played, you just want Undercut to wake from their slumber on ‘Backroom’ to toss out some crazy guitar noises. But then two-thirds through ‘Backroom’, the song picked up tempo, layering atmospheric U2-inspired ambience – the band are forgiven for the slow, wishy-washy start. Comparing the opening number ‘To Die For’ to the other two tracks is like comparing delicious pork chops with lumpy porridge. ‘To Die For’ is a well-composed alternative/rock song with a life-affirming chorus that’s understated and intelligent pop. Both ‘So Beautiful’ and ‘Backroom’ are earnest, solid rock songs with no real stimulation or drive. If Undercut can write more songs like ‘To Die For’ then their future is bright.

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Review by Nick Collings.

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