This young quartet with a moniker both resoundingly presumptuous and downright lazy comes from Leeds, England, one of the few places where jogging suits and rocking out still cohabit. The Music garnered Next Big Thing accolades for about eight seconds (all the time Britons allot these days) with a retroid stew of effects-laden blues guitar riffage and syncopated dance rhythms. Trying to be a post-Madchester Led Zeppelin would have been a brilliant idea if the Stone Roses hadn’t thought of it first in ’94, but the UK ate the Music up nonetheless, spreading a cancerous and unwarranted hype about the band. After a series of EPs (all of which contain non-album tracks, as does The Music EP, a Japanese import) the Music set its sights on a sporadically exhilarating but ultimately tiresome full-fledged debut.
The Music does have its moments: “Float” and “The People” settle nicely onto a comfortable dance-rock cushion with stuttering techno and prog-rock wah-wah, and “Take the Long Road and Walk It” shows bassist Stuart Coleman, drummer Phil Jordan and guitarist Adam Nutter pushing a recycled Pearl Jam riff and some drum ‘n’ bass allusions to their absolute zeniths. Producer Jim Abbiss utilizes his experience with Placebo and the Sneaker Pimps to try and focus on the songs’ weird moments — occasional siren-like leads, moments of space-rock intrigue — but those are few and far between. Most of the album, despite suggestions of club-culture validity, is hand-me-down spunge-rock reeking of Candlebox and Ugly Kid Joe. Which brings us to singer Robert Harvey, the latest (until the Darkness dude) in a long line of shrill and/or whiny vocalists — from Jon Anderson to Geddy Lee, Perry Farrell to Liam Gallagher — who try to afford their group some nebulous edge with their unusual “talent.” While Harvey’s screeching flights and abysmal scats initially make a song like “The Dance” or “Getaway” seem artier — like you just need some time to fully grasp it — annoying eventually becomes, well, just annoying. It doesn’t help that most of the album’s songs clock in beyond five minutes, leaving the Music to be too ambitious for pop yet too slight for the rock-art-dance powerhouse they strive to be. In the end, maybe arena rock for a generation weaned on rave-cakes and energy drinks isn’t a good idea.