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Slaves To Gravity – Underwaterouterspace

June 9, 2011 by  

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Slaves To Gravity – Underwaterouterspace

NAME: Slaves To Gravity
ALBUM: Underwaterouterspace
DATE: 15April2011

LABEL: Spinefarm


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Not quite a play-off victory


LINE UP: Mark Verney – Lead Guitars Tommy Gleeson – Vocal / Guitar Toshi Ogawa – Bass


WHAT’S THE STORY?: “I remember you, when you were an Englishman… now you’re turning American” sang The Wildhearts, back when hard rock sounded like it might be the future. Sadly, their stand against the Americanisation of British music seems to have gone unheeded by Slaves To Gravity frontman Tom Gleeson, despite supporting them during their former incarnation as The Ga Ga’s.

Having crashed and burned once, they now stand again at the threshold of a commercial breakthrough, and with a Kerrang! Award under their belt, the stars seem to be aligning nicely. And it’s certainly a strong album from the start, with a little Rage Against The Machine guitar throbbing and matching riff – and why not, for what is a decent yoghurt without a little Morello cherry?

This early promise is fulfilled throughout. These boys know what they’re doing, and at their muscular riffing best they’re up there with the likes of Alter Bridge and Velvet Revolver. But with every song and every chorus, however monolithic the melody, the accent grows more intensely bothersome.

They wouldn’t be the first British band to achieve modest success (Inme) or massive success (Bush) putting on a stateside drawl. The Chris Cornell mannerisms can be survived readily enough when the singing is this accomplished. but when you’re aping James Hetfield’s “ah!” sound – that one he puts at the end of each line, especially in the ballads, just in case people thought what he sang was a bit wussy and they need reminding he likes shooting deer – then really, enough is enough.

The nadir is found in “Youth Serrated”. It starts off as a pretty effective tune, with banjos adding a little ‘Deliverance’-style menace to the tale of knife-wielding British youths gone wild, and throws in a big rock chorus with Beatles harmonies that pleasantly recalls 90s also-rans Honeycrack. But. But. “There’s a flower and candle where Jimmy used to stand”, they wail. Really? Jimmy? That was his name?

This isn’t ‘Leader Of The Pack’. This isn’t ‘Quadrophenia’. The youth staining the streets of London with their blood aren’t donning leather jackets and combing their quiffs before having a rumble around the jukebox. They’re not even chucking bottles on Brighton Beach. They’re certainly not tragic romantic heroes rebelling against their parents. They’re locked in a cycle of remorseless, almost amoral violence, and to reduce the issue to rock’n’roll cliché cheapens it.

Perhaps one day Slaves To Gravity will write an album worthy of their obvious musical abilities – and this one isn’t exactly a bad one in the meantime. It’s just that until they sound like a band who actually have something to say, rather than simply a band who feel like they should say something about something, they will only carry on brushing the fringes of greatness.

SOUNDS LIKE: Alter Bridge, Audioslave, Puddle of Mudd – you get the picture.

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You’re after some good solid hard rock but you’ve no particularly need to feel inspired or challenged.


Submitted By Martin Headon



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