Remember when The Killers were good? Remember when you had only heard one The Enemy track and thought they were the bee’s knees? Remember how happy those days were? Finally, remember how disappointing it was when The Killers went sharply down a steep and slippery musical slope, and The Enemy released single after samey single of self-pitying dross?
Well here is something to be cheerful about again. The Sunshine Underground are back, and Nobody’s Going To Save You is an album that does not disappoint. It’s a (mostly) bold, stomping indie dance album that will make even the shyest wallflower hit that beer covered dance floor.
Kicking off with Coming To Save You, The Sunshine Underground set a tone and pace for the rest of the album. Quirky offbeats and solid guitars make quick work of the first minute, followed up by Craig Wellington’s familiar wail that fits in so perfectly. It’s all change for the chorus, with a catchy hook if ever there has been one – something The Sunshine Underground seem to have mastered on this album.
It may have been four years since their last effort, leading many to call this their ‘comeback’, but it seems that it was four years well spent. They’re as exciting as the aforementioned The Killers could have been after Hot Fuss, if only they had just taken more time. Being branded New Rave could be a bit much; they’re less electronic than Klaxons and Late Of The Pier, and are much easier to place against Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys. So much so, in fact, that Franz, Arctics and Kasabian producer Barny had a big hand in this album.
We’ve Always Been Your Friends is comparable to their dance floor classic Put You In Your Place, with a similar bassline and percussion, particularly in the opening sections. But the chorus goes in a completely different direction, leaving you without the ‘we’ve heard this all before’ feeling you might’ve expected. And if you have ever wondered what would be the result if The Sunshine Underground started listening to Muse on their days off, your curiosity will be ended by In Your Arms.
Any Minute Now gives Craig Wellington his chance to show his vocal talents. Elsewhere his vocals are used as another instrument, but he takes the lead in this track. Beginning with just himself and a humble guitar and slight percussion, it builds into an epic, dense track guaranteed to cause goosebumps live.
The album finishes on Messiah, an impressive five minutes of off-kilter beats and enormous, punching guitar led hooks. Twisting and turning though melody and emotion, this final track is everything the album has been building up to.
There is nothing worse than a great band with a great debut coming back with a terrible second album to set them on the path of decline. Fortunately The Sunshine Underground have kept the pace going, maintained their standards and made an album that is simply more polished that anything they have done before. Having made their reputation as a live band, this is an album that will lend itself well to a live setting, large or small.