This is a review of "She Gives Me Nothing EP" recorded by Instant Species. The review was written by Gavin Miller in 2004.
You know those times where you're sure you've seen something before, but don't quite know what it is, and it pisses you off for the rest of the day trying to figure out it out? Well, here it comes again...
Instant Species' latest 4-track EP certainly looks very nice. The packaging, the artwork, and all of that stuff makes sure you come to this CD with high hopes. The brown paper insert replicating the old porno magazine coverings of old, and even the 'warning' label stamped on the back. Very nice.
Music wise however, you get the distinct feeling of deja vú. The first track is the title track, and sounds so much like "Hitchin' A Ride" by Green Day, that Billie Joe Armstrong could ask for royalties. It's very nearly a cover, except for one chord, much like Burning Brides' "Arctic Snow" is essentially "The Passenger" by Iggy Pop bar one chord. The singing smacks of trying far too hard to be sleazy and sex-driven, with lyrics like "she's only 17 / but that's enough / I feel unclean", you get the picture.
"Andrea" is the second track, and sounds a bit like a kind of Jam/ Pixies mash up. Again, I'm sure I've heard this somewhere before, but I can't place it. Damn it. Anyway, it's a jolly little rocked up stomp of a song, and probably the best on show here. Ahh, the big chorus, we've missed you. Big major chords and rhyming "you" and "do", it's been a long time coming... it's only about two minutes long too, so it ain't all bad.
"I've Got A Lot Of Rock" sounds distinctly Violent Femmes circa "Blister In The Sun" placed next to "My Sharona" by The Knack and mixed with numerous US college rock songs from 1998. That's not a bad thing though, as it's a nice upbeat rock number, guaranteed to have you singing the backing chorus line of "oh whoa ohhhhhh"...
"It's All Good" closes the EP, and does so with some style. Again with the faux sleaze and major chords, it's a pretty good little number, and I bet it's pretty good live too. Although the drum intro is either a faster "Run To The Hills" or a slower "Whip It", it's 'all good' all the same.
The main thing about Instant Species is that after you've heard that first track, you play the 'what does this sound like' game with everything else, and it gets annoying after a while. Having said that, there are moments that you think, ah fuck it, just sit back and rock out, it ain't all bad, but those moments are too few and far between. Then I realise that the picture on the front cover is one of ex-Steps 'singer' Lisa Scott Lee, but just traced with a pencil. And much like the cover, you know you've seen Instant Species somewhere before.
You can tell the EP has been very well produced, and it certainly sounds very professional indeed, but if Instant Species can stop wearing their influences so blatantly, then they'll have cracked it once and for all.