This is a review of "Meat Pie Argument" recorded by Instant Species. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2002.
Instant Species have been on my musical horizon for a couple of years now. The presentation always looked professional and serious. But the music has left me unmoved. It was good, but it didn't get through to any of the bits that I was interested in.
Until the Meat Pies Argument that is. Meat Pies are where the heart is. Meat Pies are the last English pleasure from a century that brought us Freddie and the Dreamers, the Kinks and Richard Thompson. Meat Pies are the last joy in small towns like Otley and Droitwich. Meat Pies are Good.
This collection of cracklingly tasty pop songs evokes comparison with the great people of English songwriting history: Ray Davies, Martin Newell, Andy Partridge, Joe Jackson, Richard Thompson, Elvis Costello ... bloody hell, there are so many and the tradition is so rich. You can add Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn and others besides and there are still as many left out as left in. It's what English pop does best.
So how do Instant Species shape up? They're on the top of their game with this CD for sure. You can bang it on and hop about with the joy of it, or sit down and listen to the intricacies and delights of the lyrical, perfectly arranged songs.
Come in on track 4 "7 Stories High" and hear the anthemic best of breed with soaring harmonies and tingling guitar lines. Skip to the blue beat delights of track 6 with "Jamaica Park" dosing out a thoroughly masterful antidote to the incompetent "ska" nonsense of the last couple of years. Rudi's deeply in love. Go out in fired up mood with the bombastic finale of "4 Walls". Or lose yourself in the sweet melancholy of track 5 "What's the Point You're Trying to Make?" But you don't need to snack. The album is well sequenced and perfectly balanced and you can play it all the way through without the bubble bursting.
Songwriting perfection apart, Instant Species have reached that fine point in life where the band are one sonic object with a single emotional mission. Bass, drums, guitars, voices, keyboards and further added things ... they're all there and they move together like a snake in its own skin. So full marks plus some more to Carl Rosamund and his relationship with the band. The production is so meticulously good it's invisible. There are no stupid tricks, no need to blur weaknesses or gloss over faltering technique. The sound that you get is the sound that was intended and it's great. Any new young band needs to hear this and ask, if such a fantastic set of songs hasn't already taken over the nation, what chance has their weedy demo got of even getting over the road?