Lockdown Project, or LDP as they sometimes refer to themselves, show in this self-titled album that they are masters of fusion and masters of their instruments. The sound is built around Spanish guitar and perky pop rhythms, but with vocals swerving between ska, nu-metal and pure melody. Think La Isla Bonita meets The Specials, with a pinch of Linkin Park thrown in for good measure.
And somehow, it really works. Every song could be a dance floor filler, with hip-swaying, toe-tapping beats, and most have catchy chorus hooks to sink into a radio listener’s psyche. The foursome from Bath have a cohesive style and attitude which melds the components into a seamless whole, making a fresh new sound, the quality of which does not falter throughout the 12 tracks of the album.
The band are tight and crisp, with guitar, drums and bass seemingly inextricably linked into a single unit. Songs are a perfect pop length, and drip an atmosphere of sunny summer holidays, although the swearing on some is likely to dent their chances of making the Radio 1 playlist.
To their basic sound the lads add depth by layering an entire string section onto I Don’t Want To Lose You and I Wish, and by liberal seasoning with shouts and whoops (there appears to be an entire Mexican village’s street party in the introduction to Can You Feel It) and percussion (surely that wasn’t maracas in This Girl?).
The sheer talent of the guitarist, James, forms the lynch-pin of the album, but is particularly evident on You Said and the guitar solo in Everybody In The Morning. The band plays with building layers of sound – You Said starts with guitar picking, before building up drums and heading into the song proper, whilst the strumming and drumming elsewhere shows the band’s musical and rhythmic abilities are not restricted to the pop basics.
Meanwhile, over the top of the Spanish/pop-style music comes the attitude, in the form of Ollie’s lead vocals, backed up ably by the other band members. Reminiscent of Linkin Park with competing voices, and semi-shouting rapping, followed by bursts of melodic pop, there is more than a hint of the band’s known influence Cypress Hill, and possibly even the rap poetry of The Streets. The juxtaposition with the “nice-ness” of the guitar sound is what makes LDP unique and prevents the band lapsing into sugar-coated pop banality.
If there is a weak link, it is that some of the lyrics are repeated once, twice, or eight times too often, and using “la la” instead of thinking up new lyrics so often is slightly lame. That said, Everybody In The Morning’s chorus of, “Everybody in the morning, la la, Everybody in the evening, la la,” is one of the albums real can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head moments and might make this a key single (“rip your f***ing face” lyrics notwithstanding).
Lockdown Project will definitely feature on this reviewer’s playlist for summer 2004.