Monday, November 10, 2008

Music Review: Attack! Attack! UK


Although they begin with the lyrics, "Honesty didn't get me anywhere/I know 'cuz I read it in your diary," with the opening track of their titular debut album-- for the band Attack! Attack! UK, ironically the ultimate goal is honesty. Well, to put it in a way that's decidedly more rock 'n roll as evidenced in the words of guitarist Ryan Day in the Rock Ridge press release-- they pledged to serve up a brash, succinct record clocking in at roughly thirty minutes where the sound put forth contains "no frills or bullshit... [and instead is] just honest, melodic and rocking." Still, this being said and as a word of advice to the significant others in the lives of the members of Attack-- you may want to go ahead and get a lock for that diary.

Comprised of members who'd toured the globe in popular Welsh based acts like Dopamine, Adequate Seven, Midasuno, and Pete's Sake, the members of Attack! Attack! UK spared little time in trying to launch a full scale auditory attack on listeners on both sides of the pond. Currently on tour supporting their first effort, the band's self-titled album was produced by Stuart Richardson of Lostprophets and released in the states on October 7, just one day after its debut in the UK.

Despite their formation "in a rundown industrial estate on the outskirts of Cardiff, Wales," as noted by Rock Ridge, to an average listener pressing play upon the first go-round, their sound sounds not unlike many modern American bands and sure enough, the group draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources like '70s and '80s punk bands like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols to AC/DC, The Police, and the Stereophonics. Having built a loyal fan base in their native UK, the group was challenged by the intensity and passion of Stuart Richardson who pushed the members to get the ultimate results for their first album.

With just ten songs that seem to run right around the three minute mark in length, the debut of Attack! Attack! UK is catchy and entertaining from the get-go and the album's structure sounds not unlike a stage show with one song flowing directly into the next and--as several of the tracks sound similar-- it's a bit tricky to tell a few apart. However, the standouts are there and evidenced directly on the first listen. While the aggressive and furiously paced "This is a Test" seems to have been given the biggest push as the first single and introduction to audiences here in the U.S., I was more taken in by some of the more melodic and polished tracks.

In "You and Me," the album's second more radio-friendly song, despite its trademark agressive lyrics as they "swear that no one is getting out of here alive," they tap right into the same audience base and sound that gave newer bands like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand success with its throwback to the late '80s and early '90s build-up. In the catchy "Too Bad Son," that borrows the same simple is better approach lyrically from The Ramones with a refrain of "too much, too much," and "I can't stop, stop..." etc. we get the full effect of the band's musicality as guitarist Day gets a chance to shine.

One of the album's best opportunites for "sing-along" potential in seducing those who like to rock out in their car would be in the slower yet equally effective "From Now On." Ultimately, throughout the album, aside from some of the excellent reliance on simple lyrics to help build hooks in the style of their heroes in works that feel fresh and new, the band is at its best when it tries to deviate from predictable lyrics like "let's get this whole thing started, let's get this whole thing started," in "Home Again" or the repetition of the same musical phrasing in their "faster and louder is better approach," that threaten to make them sound like dozens of other bands on the radio.

Although that may sound contradictory, it's apparent on one listen that too many of the songs just flow into one another with little distinction between them composition-wise and perhaps some greater risks should've been taken musically to separate them from the pack, aside from their in-your face name since the talent the group has is undeniable, especially in some of the record's best tracks like "You and Me," "Too Bad Son" and "From Now On."

Track Listing

1. Honesty
2. You and Me
3. This Is A Test
4. Too Bad Son
5. From Now On
6. Say It To Me
7. Lights Out
8. Home Again
9. Lost For Words
10. Time Is Up

Best Buy Co, Inc.