Tuesday, 21 October 2008
When The Music released their debut album in 2001 they were a hotly tipped new act, drooled over by the music press for their mix of baggy vibes and bluesy riffing. At the time rock and dance music were considered mutually exclusive, yet fast forward seven years and the two are combined in ever increasing ways. Music fashion being the cyclical beast it is could The Music be considered relevant? It seems unlikely that they will grace the cover of NME at this stage in their career, having been usurped by younger, unsullied acts.
Since their debut they have released a stodgy sophomore effort (2004's Welcome to the North) and singer Robert Harvey has undergone rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction. Harvey’s experience and his battle to escape these dependencies inform much of the new album Strength in Numbers’ lyrical output.
The Music have updated their sound in the intervening years. There is a welcome subtlety on the third single from Strength in Numbers, “Drugs”. Gone are the Zeppelin-lite, bluesy riffs of earlier releases. Sonically, the single is more refined and textured than the output on the first two albums. “Drugs” is awash with synthetic texture, much like The Verve’s recent single “Love Is Noise”. Harvey sings in a lower register on the verses, creating a sense of intimacy and vulnerability, before opening up for the anthemic choruses. Combining an emotional starkness with a stadium-ready chorus is nothing new, but it works.
The pantheon of rock music is littered with those thrown by the wayside. Credit The Music for escaping the darker aspects of fatalism and enthrallment to substances and producing a solid third album. “Drugs” is a laudable effort, but you get the feeling that it won’t convert any new fans.
This article was originally produced for http://www.clickmusic.com/. To read the music review of Drugs by The Music on the site, please click on the article title.