I didn't care much for all that London's Burning nonsense the first time around. To me, average musicians playing average songs badly but quickly seemed a little dated. Foolishly, I believed it would all be over once The Others were exposed as the joke that they undoubtedly are. Then this landed on my doorstep.
Although The Paddingtons are actually from Hull, they rode on The Libertines' coattails for long enough to be considered part of that coveted scene and land a Poptones deal. So far, so very predictable. Enthusiastic (if technically nascent) live performances soon followed, but it's been a long wait for this, their debut album. Kicking off with 'Some Old Girl,' a sneering, leering slice of gutter punk, a large amount of that energy seems to have been lost in translation.
In a genre where commitment has historically been considered as important as ability, vocalist Tom Atkins sounds pretty nonchalant about it all. He's adhered to one punk credo, at least, in that his delivery couldn't accurately be described as singing.
'50 to a £' isn't so awful, with an agreeable enough chorus and some melodic guitar lines. Indeed, when The Paddingtons abandon their efforts to sound as shambolic as possible they manage to churn out some better-than-average punk pop. Borrowing from both The Strokes and Blink 182, 'Worse For Wear' is the album's stand-out track.
A pity, then, that there are another seven following it. They're not all bad, but few are particularly good. 'Loser' is a repetitive three chord assault devoid of both melody and charm, 'Panic Attack' features some standard issue chant-along backing vocals but not a lot else and as for 'Stop Breathing,' well, the pun would be too easy to make, wouldn't it?
It's easy to imagine these songs going down a storm in a sweaty little club, but on record The Paddingtons sound flat. Not until '_21_' do they sound particularly worked-up, a cardinal sin for any band trying to plough the punk furrow. An opportunity missed, then. Let's hope, for their sake, that Pete and Carl haven't changed their numbers recently...
4Rob Webb's Score