This is a review of "Plan "E"" recorded by Instant Species. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
You can't fault it. This is as good as it gets. Instant Species have fully evolved, grown to maturity and had babies.
Eleven all told.
The babies, naturally, have archetypal phantasies about girls with razor teeth and x-ray spermicidal evil-eyes - just like boy babies do. They do get confused and angry about the joy of sex and they do channel it into unexpectedly wonderful hobbies with "Traces of Sublimation" on the packet. Girl babies get huffy and mature earlier. That's their problem.
But these boys play drums and bass and guitar like heroes from a New Country. They get the driving pounding power pop thing in perfect shape and buff it up till it gleams. Touches of country, touches of rockabilly and sniffs of the wicked punk powders too. No secret allegiances, no debts, no apologies. It's a perfect album, and if you don't like it. Fine. Piss off. You'll find something else to suit, possibly.
But I do recommend a longer listen. Come into "Wealth and Health" and get a bead on that chiming guitar and surging bass and then go all tingly when the voices power in. Sneak round the back of "Scott Free" and feel good about a band who can manage simple but cunning syncopation and play harmonica too. Get closer to the uncomfortable truth in "She Gives Me Nothing", and notice that a more careful reading gives you a more mature understanding than the fishnet headlines seemed to suggest. And as you're hurled round the helter-skelter of "No Centrefold", listen up carefully enough to notice the Strokes' assimilating leer. All survivors adopt the best tricks from wherever they find 'em. And mostly they fucking rock.
So. While other specimens starve in the jungle, die of thirst in the stinking marshes, or get thrown off the rope bridge by the record company tour guide, just watch Instant Species gather a crowd round them in the clearing. Marvel at how graciously they accept the ceremonial banana for keeping the spirit alive while others around them have turned to Pulp.
As with "Meat Pie Argument", this Instant Species masterpiece cherishes values like good sequencing, quality mixing and mastering, and the careful eradication of weaker songs (there must be a load, stacked up in a shed in Huddersfield somewhere). The result has a couple of hundred more listens in it than your bog standard indie pop release.
Runt of the litter, the unlisted track 11 is a weird one. But it is a sinister post liberal challenge for the HIV-AIDS Generation. Sleaze because it needs sorting. Not because it gets a cheap rise. A trailer for more experimental directions for Number 6? Can't wait.