I am listening to something wonderful, something accidentally brilliant. I swear this is the soundtrack to which I will fall in love, to which my heart will break, to which I will turn my life into a movie.
Antihero's debut album proper sounds like a celebration of a crisis, wave upon wave of might and distortion, tears and howls of laughter. From the shattering opening of 'A Girl Called Pain' to the closing epitaph of 'My Story Has Been Told', this band embraces the anthemic and the underground in equal measure, creating something so beautifully real. Alternative rock's call to arms has been answered. Imagine pure energy and youthful abrasiveness structured into song - This Is An Emergency. You fucking need this.
Every piece has seemingly placed so recklessly and yet so perfectly. Obnoxious studs make good with some kind of covert rock n roll genius and understanding of song-writing. For example: The toybox samples amidst the cacophony of guitars are so simple, but a certain awareness within the record's structure enables them to sound meaningful and understated rather than inarticulate or gimmicky. Sirens blare at the start of 'Don't Trust The DJ' and 'Spitkiss', like a fanfare welcoming a riot. The dumb-down drum machine fills on 'Body Rot' are overtly tongue-in-cheek to the point of being somewhat smug, but it still sounds so undeniably cool, you can't help but crack a smile before you find yourself hollering along to the "Can't stop, won't stop, you make my body rot..." chorus. Persuasive, man, majorly persuasive.
The lyrical content is something of an oxymoron, in part dealing with personal affliction ("tell your mother that I'm sorry, though I'd like to think that she understands..." - from 'Why do You Look So Sad') and what can only be described as ‘issues', but also straining to keep the listener at arm's length from the core of the problems. There are sections of the album which sound like facetious party anthems, such as the "Who's got the beats?" chorus of 'UK Garage Girl', almost trying to distract from the tales of heartbreak riddled through the rest of the album. And through methods probably rooted in some angry defiance, Antihero somehow make it all gel together.
The themes are so universal and the hooks so sweet that the record sounds rather familiar - and this seems to me to be an incredible achievement. I remember when I first heard Nevermind and every song was a different manifestation of the blueprint I had etched in my head of ‘the perfect song' - like Cobain had tapped into my head and written the songs I was born waiting to hear. So too is the case here (though obviously comparisons to Nirvana are a bit far-fetched, even by my generous standards), the songs are so natural that the record is strangely seductive and addictive even after a single listen.
In the masochistic performance lies fragility and tenderness, in the simplicity lies immeasurable depth, and within the re-hashings of post-relationship sentiment is a newfound honesty, and the band's real voice. There is so much between the lines - some indescribable genius in this rock. A definite uniqueness and pride. "Oh baby baby I sold my soul for attitude...". Get me the fuck to the dancefloor.
10Dan Kiener's Score