Album Reviews

Radio 4 – Enemies Like These

(EMI) UK release date: 19 June 2006

As Carly Simon once said, “Nobody does it better”. Oh, except for Interpol. And The Rapture. And Franz Ferdinand are a lot more fun. And !!! have a more interesting name. And The Futureheads are far smarter.

But apart from that, nobody does it better. Except The Clash. And Gang Of Four. And that was like, ages ago. But apart from those… Ah… Bollocks. Forgot PiL. Hmmm, has anyone seen the point? It was round here a second ago.

Radio 4 certainly haven’t. If it’s political agitation they desperately seek, and that would certainly fit with The Clash fixation, then why is Enemies Like These so fucking dull? And if it’s dance floor supremacy they’re after, and that would certainly fit some of the rhythms on display, then why is Enemies Like These so fucking dull?

As dull as grouting. With Dido. In Hull. So while the title track begins positively enough, all lithe basslines and machine-gun drumming, it quickly degenerates into such an uninspired series of “Doo-doo-do-doo’s” that you just figure that if they couldn’t be arsed writing a concluding verse then you can’t be arsed listening to it. Grass Is Greener strums off some hyper-stylised Interpol guitar stabs in an impressively hypnotic manner, until realisation dawns that they haven’t a clue about a direction to point the rest of the track in, and the whole thing simply flat lines into mediocrity.

But at the very least, those songs show a bit of a spark. It’s small, and faint, but it’s the merest suggestion that Radio 4 could do something which borders on interesting. None of the rest of Enemies Like These even achieves that: Ascension Street is the worst of the cod-reggae interludes that punctuate proceedings, the unfortunate belches of a glutton who has spent the last ten years gorging themselves daily on a fourteen course banquet of London Calling, and This Is Not A Test is little more than an attempt to hotwire House Of Jealous Lovers, paint it blue, chuck a dust sheet over the cowbell, and hope that no one will notice the blatant theft as it speeds past.

Positively, it’s far better than Stealing A Nation. Negatively, that’s because Stealing A Nation was utter, utter shite. Here the improvement is probably due to them returning to what they know best, it’s just that what they know best is done far better by so many others that a universal shrugging of shoulders can be the only viable response.

With enemies like these, who needs Radio 4?

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