Graham Reid | | 1 min read
And we thought Shihad had a
controversial name post-9/11? This alt.pop four-piece based in Los
Angeles – which has toured with the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and
Bloc Party -- used to be called The Muslims. The flipside of their
first single was Walking With Jesus.
So let's give them points in their
efforts to get a headline.
This, their debut album, however steers
a straight-ahead course between enjoyably fiery indie.rock and
garageband power pop, frill-free riffery and snappy pop economy where very little breaks the three, let alone four, minute mark.
Singer Matt Lamkin delivers a smart
line of monotone anger while on material like Pull Out they
come off like a meltdown of Joy Division monochrome gloom and the
early Chills. And More or Less brings to mind the
Chills/Sneaky Feelings in its guitar jangle and driving-pop ethic.
So yes, you can certainly tick off the
familiar in their sound – let's add in Wall of Voodoo, the Modern
Lovers and the Replacements – but they play out pop and rock
history as if they've just discovered this noise for themselves, and
Lankham brings youthful disaffection to his slightly sneered lyrics.
When they slow the pace for Mexico
with its slewing guitars you can guess next time out they'll have
more of their own to offer.
But this will do nicely – when played
loud – for now.