Much will be muttered about Pull In Emergency’s formation, not least their school-band-done-good story, emerging from north London but managing to undo the shackles that tie down most elementary bands to Green Day covers and pitiful metal-by-numbers. It’s difficult not to have your opinion dictated by the fact that this outfit is so youthful and admittedly inexperienced, particularly when their self-titled debut offers little in terms of surprises.
Granted, the instrumentation is not unlike the sorts of sounds coming from more established acts – tied down and tight – and it resembles the immediacy of fellow fresh-faced outfit Bombay Bicycle Club.
And whilst Faith Barker’s rich vocals could sound more suited alongside a clichéd pop setup, in her lies the only valuable asset setting the band apart from the mediocrity of The Pigeon Detectives and countless subsequently appearing and disappearing acts that never made it past a couple of raucous, sweaty local gigs. She does well to add variety to a static set of chords and riffs slugged out by her bandmates, providing a much needed energy to Backfoot’s chorus and appearing to dictate the sombre mood of the anthemic Planes.
However, this talented singer is merely doing her best under the circumstances. She’s fronting – and, not to forget, she’s partly responsible for – a dated sound: guitar-based indie with sharp, spiky riffs and a harsh, relentless pace. This sound – once wildly popular as it was amongst the rush of curly-haired, cigarette-smoking young men who played their part in bulking up a music scene – has certainly seen better days. Perhaps merely calling the album out of trend would be a shallow criticism, but even in its heyday, indie fans wouldn’t have plucked Pull In Emergency from a cast of thousands, so average is their sound and image.
This collection of songs lacks the necessary components – among them, credible stimulation and an original, inspired idea – to step out of nowhere with invention and charm. But the ironically titled opener Everything Is The Same and all that follows feels too easily put together from hobby-kit instructions. And whilst the band are undoubtedly capable of keeping a tune, it’s up to them to create substance of a little more originality. Instead, they’re left with their youth, back story, and fickle nature to provide the excuses. It’s not nearly enough.