As with most things, the internet is probably to blame. By virtue of a simplified delivery system – write, record, upload, listen – the hurdle of having to deal with Parcelforce losing your master tapes en route to a budget CD writing plant somewhere west of Swansea no longer needs to be jumped. It’s easier to record as a band, so there are more bands. And one of them is The Tricks.
I make that point because of what The Tricks represent: a new generation of bands that don’t have to make a huge effort to get their music from their brains to our ears. You would think the effort they save in distribution would be spent instead on making the music as original and exciting as possible. Not so; on the evidence of ‘Safari Inn’, the norm now is to sit about listening to indie bands of five to ten years ago and think “Ah this is a piece of piss – knock a few tracks off and get down the pub lads?”
For a few years, a few years ago, there was a band called Boy Kill Boy who put out one excellent album, one average one and then died. Some of their singles were exceptional, but despite this they faced too much competition to turn enough heads and off they wandered into the wilderness. The Tricks sound vaguely similar to that band and yet over the course of 11 tracks they show less ambition and creativity than Boy Kill Boy had in the cutting-room trimmings off one of those singles.
The Tricks are aiming for buoyant indie pop with a pinch of calypso in places, upbeat and optimistic and full of life. Laudable goals, but it falls so flat it might as well be Shrove Tuesday.
This is comfort zone music. The beats are very frequently the same from one track to the next, the melodies are ‘amiable’ in a way that makes a proper music fan angry, and it’s impossible to hear the lyrics for the hum of zeds as your brain wills itself to sleep. On the rare occasion you think they’re going to let loose there’ll be a sudden, humdrum interlude halfway through a song, which hits you with the mild disappointment of news that you didn’t get a job you didn’t want anyway.
It’s so inoffensive I’m struggling to pick a stand-out track on the record, if indeed I haven’t been listened to the same track for 11 repeats (is Soundcloud broken?) The title of each track is incanted many times in each song – this one must be called ‘Remember Me’, right? Yes, yes it is. Could this one be called ‘Not Too Young’? It is you know. I’m going to take a stab at…’Back Home’? By Jove I think he’s got it.
Perhaps if I was 11 years old and looking for an indie band I could boast to my school friends about as they listened to whatever shite Cowell is peddling these days, The Tricks would fit the bill. Honestly, the music here is fine. But if fine is all we aspire to since the internet started thrusting a hundred new bands at us daily, I hereby volunteer to be Boy Kill Boy’s agent for their highly lucrative reunion tour.
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