Review by Joey StoateCheck out Joey's wicked blog over here.
Derby-based band Whitemoor’s third album is ambitious, thought provoking and well written. However, whilst there’s a strong selection of stand out tracks here, the album unfortunately feels the need to pad out its slightly too long running time with underwhelming, generic indie-pop. To use an incredibly annoying phrase, Pause And Effect is an album of two halves.
The album starts incredibly strong, with epic opener Hollywood striking all the right chords with it’s spacey guitar tone and vocal lines, even if the track outstays it’s welcome ever so slightly, it’s a great song and it’s length doesn’t do anything to detract from it’s quality. Lead single, A Cage For The Animals is yet another fantastic song, with infectious choruses and an incredibly memorable vocal line, the song could happily sit alongside anything on Radio 1 today, production aside. Dark Sparks has single written all over it, with an effectively funky bassline permeating reverberated guitars and vocals.
Be The Last starts with a promising intro, with an interesting almost gallop like feel to the percussion leading us into an intriguing first verse. Granted, the track would benefit hugely from another guitar line and bigger production, but the song carries on at a good pace, with a superb middle eight rounding off another strong piece. However, if there’s one piece of criticism for the track, the jarring full band stop before the first chorus is horrible, and can really throw the listener, almost to a point where it really wrecks the experience. It might work in a live environment, but not here.
The haunting Codes is another interesting song, proving to be both eerie and upbeat in feel, and really giving off the vibe of an unofficial title track. The band’s experiments with melodies really pay off here, achieving a sound that is both calm and claustrophobic. Unfortunately, here is where we reach the more problematic portion of the album. Whilst Ghosts certainly isn’t a bad track, it sadly highlights the album’s more generic qualities, especially in songs such as Only Human and God Help The Queen, both seeming unremarkable and frankly a bit dull.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. She Makes Me Fly proves to be one of the album’s best tracks, with it’s prominent use of keys really injecting a new life into proceedings, and Masquerade picks things up once again as a fun, more energetic track with memorable synth lines and a stronger hint of aggression. The album creeps to a close with the album’s best slow track, the quiet, thoughtful closer Until Tomorrow.
In summary, the album is a good effort from a band with a lot of potential that’s yet to be fully grasped. Several strong tracks, and a few pretty weak songs turn this album into a real mixed bag. Whitemoor, you could be great. Just take the catchy melodies of She Makes Me Fly and Hollywood and run with it!