Album Reviews

The Open – Statues

(Universal) UK release date: 6 February 2006


There is an unwritten hearsay amongst miserable modern guitar-led rock bands that says the inclusion of abstract, whooshing noises and overly long opening tracks makes for an album that will be described as epic.

This is fine if you are Doves or Elbow, and your general northern grumpiness is relayed so well that it induces fits of happiness and praise from anyone who listens to it, regardless of their state of mind. The Open, on the other hand, are more likely to promote random acts of aggression towards speakers everywhere than find themselves the pride of anyone’s melodic swathing indie pile.

The most frustrating thing about Statues is not that it’s awful; it’s how close it is to being actually very good. The Open have references in all the right places: Doves on highlight We Can Never Say Goodbye, glum-rock heroes Radiohead (through most of the tracks here but especially the discordant riffs of the title track and hurricane of twisted noise that is My House).

The formula is right as well: angst-led lyrics, reverb drenched guitars and more than a hint of experimentalism. It’s just that they never quite touch on anything anywhere half as good as their ideal peers.

Opening track Forever meanders into pointless jazz instead of the vast, epic guitar monster it should have been, while Moment In Time and Two Lovers In The Rain are just dull Coldplay clones, the latter with more jazz implants to make it seem more ‘interesting’.

At times, The Open capture that glorious mess that a challenging guitar record should be about. You have literally no idea whether it’s genius or terrible, but, on My House for example, they come out proving that there is potential for something ground-breaking from these guys.

That’s the real problem for Statues. There are so many more bands that write better melodic, acoustic guitar type albums that there isn’t room for The Open in that club. When they try to make clever, interesting additions to this basic template they often die on their arse, and the real quality just doesn’t rear up often enough to compensate for their shortcomings. Definitely one for the die-hard miserabilists only.


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More on The Open
The Open – Statues
The Open – The Silent Hours