Tubelord’s sophomore record is like a spew of trashy indie – MGMT synth-work and lively pop, thrown from pillar to post by frontman Joseph Prendergast’s expressive whines and moans.
Initially the over-confidant charge of sprightly guitars, upfront vocals and party-vibing production is a head turner – but for all the wrong reasons. We felt like a nosey neighbour peering over the garden fence – wondering what the noise is all about.
The noise is, in fact, a set of 11 tunes of uncontrollable angst that should be contained within a well-insulated garage rather than released for consumption. The album’s lead single, ‘My First Castle’, is Prendergast’s fat-talking, David Byrne impression, but it comes across like a relentless squawk that can’t end soon enough.
Other tracks, like the opening ‘Over in Brooklyn’, tries throw up frantic indie energy, somewhat like a school band playing Los Campesinos! The guitars and rhythm section crash and fly, while the singer stretches his tones atop the whole pointless shebang. It’s as if the London group have deliberately gone all out to scuff and rough up their sound, but it feels too contrived and throwaway to offer any reason for repeat listening.
The fact that all the words here are taken from pieces of poetry, rather than from the band themselves, is another indication that maybe they are trying a little too hard. Pendergast has his reasons: “I am content with appearing as a reader as opposed to being a writer.”
We can’t deny that the band have get up and go – they fire on all cylinders here, changing from twee, synth-pop (‘4T3’) to some straight-up rock-outs (‘Here is Nothing’). But with the never-ending keyboard gymnastics and sprawling guitars, along with their refusal to dig a little deeper, this record’s only use is to annoy the neighbours.