It’s hard to tell with some British bands whether their hype is or will end up to be bigger than their potential. Franz Ferdinand has stretched their popularity to two albums, but can a third hold the same magic? The Arctic Monkeys broke sales records in their home country and made a strong showing in America, but will their antics hold up over time? The Dead 60’s and the Zutons made hardly a ripple in the American musical pond, as easily forgotten as last year’s reality show winners. Then there are those bands that receive mild acclaim in England and subsequently have their debuts delayed in the States. The Editors are a fantastic band, but the fuse that could have set off an American explosion has long since fizzled in the eight months since its UK release. Finding itself in that same position is the Manchester band Nine Black Alps. Already having released their debut album, and five subsequent singles from it, the band is finally releasing Everything Is in America.
Everything Is plays like two separate CDs interwoven into one package, alternating blistering grunge tracks with smart pop hooks and a few acoustic numbers. “Get Your Guns” is like an Oasis song drenched in the grunge heyday of Seattle rather than the Beatles harmonies of ’60s England. Single release “Not Everyone” plays the same way, with just a little bit of Ian Brown vocal similarity. From then on, every other track, “Headlights,” “Ironside,” etc. plays the hopscotch game of “We like Nirvana.” The true standouts on the debut are songs that appeared on their American debut self-titled EP, namely the singles “Cosmopolitan” and “Shot Down.” But there are a couple of slower acoustic tracks that make the grade as well, despite reviews to the contrary. Maybe it’s the fact that America was over “Cobain-ated” over the years and the combination of the Britpop / grunge styles seem a little too much. While the great singles buoyed the EP, the album is over laden with material that is easily forgettable.
Those acoustic numbers, “Behind Your Eyes” and “Intermission” are restrained and, while maybe not entirely original, at least not as derivative as most of the rest of the album. This could have been another EP release and been a much tighter package, maybe with the catchy choruses of “Unsatisfied,” the two acoustic tracks, and maybe two extras, if not for the fact that EPs are not huge money makers or get near enough attention as full-length albums. After being excited by the initial US EP and the requisite hype that came along with it, it seems that Nine Black Alps just might suffer under the weight of expectation.
Ian Brown- Golden Greats
Oasis- Be Here Now