Death in the Sickroom – Brick to the Face EP (Reekus Records)
We were raving about Death in the Sickroom’s single ‘Tonight’ a few weeks ago (during the summer, remember that?).
Here now is the debut EP Brick to the face on which that song is the lead and a fine piece of work it is too.
Let’s get the quibbles out of the way early. I suppose you could argue that the band is too indebted to Johnny Marr. Jangly 12-string electric is all over these songs. Personally, I don’t have a problem, it’s a sound I love and could never have enough of. Perhaps the band could consider expanding their pallette when it comes to an album but that’s for down the line. Given the assured arrangements on these five tracks, I think they could approach that issue with confidence anyway if they chose to.
On a less substantive note, you would also find quarrel in some quarters with releasing the hands-down best track on the EP as your lead, but that’s the thing with superior quality – it tends to raise the bar.
So you already know about ‘Tonight’ – I imagine it’s been barrelling out of a speaker near you if there’s any justice in the world, with its somewhat polite swagger, its swing and its gang-like attitude which makes you wish you were part of it.
‘Plain Jane’ has that early Smiths jangle menace in great order, with a wonderful thudding bass and pounding backbeat to go with the chming guitars.
‘Brick to the face’ features another classic chorus – “you’re about as welcome as a brick to the face my love” – the centrepiece of a kitchen sink drama that is both thrilling and as catchy as Ebola.
And ‘The last day of school’ has another beautiful high bass melody in place of a guitar solo, plus there are handclaps and “la-la-las”, so what could be lovelier.
The songwriting is refreshingly brash with a social realist tinge. And as I was saying, within the confines of the chosen guitar sound and instrumentation, the arrangements still manage to be creative. It all smacks of good musical instincts and long hours spent in the jam room.
This is a very promising band and this EP has tunes to burn.