Here’s a tip for new bands starting out: try to make sure that your name isn’t the most interesting thing about you. Just ask Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.
Midlanders Goodnight Lenin’s relentlessly trebly and chirpy bonhomie gets pretty bloody grating over the duration of a whole album. Their Laurel Canyon love and the impressive feat of snagging superb solo artist Jonathan Wilson for mixing duties should make this an endearing listen. But it’s all so clean, so shiny, and so one-dimensional.
Opener and teaser track ‘You Were Always Waiting’ (video below) is the standout moment, meaning things gradually slide from there onwards. At times, this album feels like Fleet Foxes songs being done by an X Factor contestant, with chintzy backdrops and over-earnest delivery ahoy.
‘The Tale-Tell Heart’ should be the melodic centre of the record, but from its raised-eyebrow, knowing-grin title, to “everything” and “nothing” being pronounced with the letter k on the end, it seems determined to sabotage itself.
This set is clearly rather well intentioned stuff, but very hard to love. It's all destined to become background music for surf shack styled clothes shops and offbeat Channel 4 cookery shows.
Words: Gareth James
- - -
- - -