Young but no defeated
Club Smith, the band named after an old teenage drinking place of its members, release their debut AA record on Front Wall records this week, which is all well and good but you'd be hard placed to work out what the band hope to achieve. 'No Friend of Mine' is a controlled slice of scathing guitars and rollicking drums that sits at the top of the record but apart from its big catchy chorus of 'so I can look good' it doesn't really seem to say anything. It will certainly fill the floor of your local indie club with its Cribs-like harmonies and backing vocals but the fundamental problem is the lack of lyrical ideas from the band.
The second half of the single however proves to be Club Smith's saving grace after the tedious 'No Friend of Mine'. 'Young Defeatists' emerges as a welcome signifier of what the band are capable of as they begin to sway away from the murky waters of post-Arctic Monkeys indie/lad rock. This track has a more infectious melody than its flipside and has drums that Joy Division's Stephen Morris would be proud of. In fact as the track reaches its climax, wailing guitars and pounding drums prove a breathtaking wall of sound behind Sam Robson's focused howling vocals, making for an intense and quite brilliant finale. The single also features a presumably band-sanctioned remix of the first song by Co-pilots (by Bloc Party's Russell Lissack and Jamie Ellis of Battles). You don't have to try too hard to find the band's influences here.
Overall, a decent debut single from a band that appear to be confused as to what they want to be. Do they want to fill the floor with mindless chanting melodies or do they aim to achieve something more. On the merits of 'Young Defeatists', it's probably the latter. With some more ambition and honing, this band can make it big.