To be honest, until I’d been handed the CD, I’d never heard of these guys. But as it is, TwoBeatsOff likes new music and well, it’s nice to write about stuff I’ve got no preconceptions or assumptions about. And of course, new bands are always a plus. So, I had to do a bit of digging. It turns out that My Preserver are tagged as ‘electro-rock’ on Last.FM by their listeners, which makes sense, and that they’re from London. Googling their record label came forward with nothing, so I’m presuming that debut Revolutions In The Head is in fact self released (which was then confirmed by their Facebook page), which fills me with a fair bit of joy – it’s always great to see bands do it themselves, particularly when those bands get shot to fame, much like My Passion, who are one of the UK’s hardest working bands right now. However, despite their similar names and circumstances, their music is nothing alike and My Preserver wear far less eyeliner. Instead, it’s time to let the music speak for itself and determine if My Preserver have that same edge in order to propel them to atmospheric heights.
Opening track, King Jesus is a great starting point, full of energy and excessively catchy. It’s the sort of thing you’d catch on MTV2’s former excellent afternoon slot, “Text, Drugs and Rock And Roll”, and reminds me a little bit of US band Acceptance, who have the same knack for creating riffs that get in your head. The Green Wash starts in a fairly similar way to the previous track, and perhaps here, some variety would have been nice. They’re certainly not the same song – The Green Wash is actually more interesting and shows more musical depth, deviating from the repetitive but effective formula of King Jesus, but is kind of let down by its length. Third track Terrorist slows the affair down with its piano opening, and a theme of religion and politics echoes through; while this isn’t a political album, there is certainly more depth here than in the average chart release. Meaning, you wouldn’t catch songs like this on the latest Vampire Weekend record. It’s a refreshing change to hear something more lyrically interesting than boy-likes-girl-and-writes-song-about-her in something that isn’t political punk.
Dancing With Bricks is as danceable as its title suggests, but not as impressive as You Know Something I Don’t Know which follows it. This is the best song on the album by far – it’s aggressive, it’s got one hell of a synth solo and fully displays Plowright’s potential vocal talent. Not to say that the vocals are awful for the rest of the album, because they aren’t, but often, when vocals should be more forceful than they are, they turn out a little whiny. It’s okay though – the Americans were doing it before these guys and got away with it. Puzzles is a slow, burning affair, driven by the simple but beautiful underlying guitar riff. It slowly builds and lifts, ending on an echoey note. Children Of The Capitalists is more of the same – synthy synth, distorted guitar, etc, but has some interesting backing vocals in the form of what sounds like actual kids. Guys With Spikes is again, let down by its length – with this kind of stuff, a song over four minutes can be sort of pushing it, and has some very repetitive keyboardy drone before the guitar solos kick in. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly good song, and fits well with the rest of the album’s tone. Change The Blue Bag brings the excitement levels up again and is again, very very catchy. It’s Just A Game is a bit too similar to a few of the other tracks on the album, but is fun all the same. Finisher Loose Change has echoes of Muse in it, especially in the way that it attempts the grandiose. While it’s not the best finisher – the best song on the album should always be reserved for this – it certainly does represent what is best about the album and shows potential for the next release.
Although generally this isn’t my kind of music, I can certainly see that My Preserver have grand ambitions. You don’t attempt music like this if you don’t. While I enjoyed the album, I found it to be reasonably repetitive, which was a real shame. There are moments of brilliance and then… back to the same formula. On the whole, it’s quite similar musically to a lot of bands who came out around the mid 2000s, if not lyrically. It’s almost like the album wants to be its influences, when it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t stand out like it should and doesn’t stand up to the shuffle test – when I put my iTunes on shuffle and it came up, I had to look up who was playing, I couldn’t guess who it was on my own. And while I may have over 7000 songs on my iTunes, I can certainly tell if it’s something spectacular.
It’s a great attempt for a debut and I’d like to see what happens next for My Preserver. It’s certainly worth checking out if you happen to like chunky synths and some fun guitar. The suggested genre on my iTunes was ‘alternative and punk’ and well… I suppose it is alternative. But next time, let’s hope it’s a better alternative to what’s on offer instead of just blending in.
3.5 out of 5 high fives!