This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Decoration. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2002.
Back when I was 16 and in my snotty indie-kid phase (yes I have grown out of it), back in Manchester, I used to wander round Affleck's Palace and buy dodgy tapes of bands like the Happy Mondays and Northside that sounded like they had been recorded at the back of a church hall. Decoration somehow have mastered this recording technique incredibly well and if you want a good example listen to The Stone Roses - Garage Flowers. Part of this peculiar charm comes from the late 80's sounding Indie guitar and the bumbling trumpy bass that grace each track.
Opener 'Where Eagles Dare' is a suitable warm up number but the band really strike out with the interesting 'Wrecker' which tells the story of a lust filled boat trip with the wife of the captain - like every boat trip I've been on actually, those pesky captains' wives! The path to greatness continues with third track 'Hand Grenade'. It's funny that this was recorded at Mook and I wonder whether the resemblance to the early Wedding Present material was ever pointed out. In fact when I heard Gedge interviewed recently and it was pointed out that you could hear his Leeds accent when he was singing, I never really saw what they meant until hearing Murray of Decoration who shares the same tones. Closer 'Elder and Better' is weaker but keeps in the same northern indie-grit vain.
I'd be interested to see if Decoration could pull this off live as I suspect a lot of the tones in the recording although not deliberate, would disappear. There is a definite maturity to the music and the only problem that I can see is the era it seems to be stuck in. It's a million miles back a long the evolutionary scale from the likes of Sum 41 and is so much better for it, but that said it may just appeal to wistful fans of wandering around Afflecks Palace when they were 16 or hearing The Wedding Present's - Tommy for the first time.