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