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The Koreans - Debut LP


Review: Jack Foley

HAILED as electro-guitar rock pioneers from south London, The Koreans could well be on the verge of great things if their debut album is anything to go by.

Packed with storming indie anthems than combine the soulful, rhythmic flair of early Rolling Stones with the electro disco beats of, say, Daft Punk, New Order, or, more recently, The Rapture, this is a debut album that ensures you sit up and take notice.

They've already been championed by XFM Djs Claire Sturgess and John Kennedy, while Godfather of Brit-pop, Alan McGee, has whole-heartedly hailed them to be 'one of the most exciting British bands in years'.

It's easy to see why. From the moment the album kicks off amid the swirling electronic beats and jagged, scuzzed up guitars of Keep Me In Your Mind, there is an urgency and vibrancy about it that makes it quite compelling.

Recent single, Still Strung Out, follows in quick succession, harking back to the old-school indie style of some of Manchester's finest acts, and backed by the sort of beats and breaks the Chemical Brothers would be proud of.

It is, arguably, one of the best tracks on the album and became a single of the week on Virgin Radio upon its release.

The aggressive, yet-still-funky, How Does It Feel maintains the no-nonsense approach to songwriting, courtesy of Rob Harwood's urgent bassline, and the screeching guitars of Oliver Hicks and Brent Newman.

Hicks' vocals, too, possess an easy to listen to quality about them, which works in tandem with the melodies created, rather than against them.

The vocals occasionally veer into Muse-style territory (as in the opening moments of Talking To Myself), but never sound like a rip-off; helping The Koreans to maintain a sound that is distinctly their own.

If there is a minor criticism, it's that some of the sound is a little too alike, as in another former single, Machine Code, which slips into an all-too-easy, retro-schooled 80s-laced electronic-punk format, that is only shown up by the quality of the rest of the album.

But such blips are few and far between and the album comes back strong with the likes of the sprawling Slow Motion and pensive Drawn Away, the latter of which demonstrates a hitherto concealed beauty in the band's songwriting brilliance.

With all this in mind, The Koreans have delivered a debut long-player that effortlessly realises the early hype surrounding them, and which really ought to be basking in the same sort of limelight that has currently been reserved for the likes of Kasabian and Chikinki.

Make sure it doesn't pass you by...

Track listing:
1. Keep Me In Your Mind
2. Still Strung Out
3. How Does It Feel

4. Land Of The Free
5. Talking To Myself
6. Broken Spell
7. Machine Code
8. Slow Motion
9. Drawn Away
10. It Keeps Coming

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