Album Reviews

Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

(Parlophone) UK release date: 11 August 2008

The refreshing thing about Late Of The Pier is that they’ve not so much discarded the rulebook as fed it through a shredder.

That means this adventurous three quarters of an hour of music feeds in influences from all areas, but does so in a way that never sounds contrived or fashionable for its own sake, and frequently hits the heights of excitement.

Their sound is restless, schizophrenic sometimes as they lurch from one style to another – again, making the joins realistic rather than telegraphed. And so it is that the opening Hot Tent Blues, after a grand, declamatory introduction, blends straight into Broken, with its high stepping ska and lithe guitar lines fuelling a mass jumparound.

Space And The Woods, meanwhile, kicks in with the distinctly anti-pop slogan “suicide is in my blood, it always was” before crunching guitars hit hard over a stomping rhythm.

Having set their stall out the band impress with an approach that borders on the progressive without talking down to the listener, and importantly keeping the structure taut.

Frequently the band surprise with their capacity to introduce rhythms you never thought them capable of. The Bears Are Coming sounds like Timbaland crossed with Foals, before a sound like someone letting a balloon go quickly provides an odd refrain.

And then there’s the shamelessly 80s-influenced opening to Heartbeat, where luminous synth colours blend with beefy guitars, setting us up for a big chorus.

The only criticism for Late Of The Pier is a lack of light and shade – all these tracks are pumped up, adrenalin fuelled monsters that have a confident bluster, with the possible exception of The Enemy Are The Future, which delves a little deeper beneath the surface.

But why not play to your strengths? This is a band that don’t sound like anything else around at the moment, who aren’t afraid to experiment with hip-busting funk, rock and power pop all jumping into bed together. There’s certainly no sleep while this lot are around.

buy Late Of The Pier MP3s or CDs
Spotify Late Of The Pier on Spotify

More on Late Of The Pier
Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel
Late Of The Pier + Video Nasties + Slagsmålsklubben @ ULU, London