Review of 'Fine Fascination' the debut album from Red Light Company.
Fascinating: something that many bands want to be. Some bands achieve it with seemingly little or no effort, whilst others struggle to manufacture it for their whole careers whilst still remaining suspect.
The latest to step off from the NME's 'hotly tipped' merry-go-round, Red Light Company, have a head start on the majority, and make exceedingly strange bedfellows. The band line-up is somewhat of a geographical tongue twister: formed in London they are English, Welsh, Japanese-American and Australian- English. Their appearance is similarly disparate; some of them look like they were left out of Placebo, some of The Datsuns, with some of Hanson thrown in for good measure. From this melting-pot of different styles and cultures you should expect something a little out of the ordinary.
Rather surprisingly then, 'Fine Fascination' remains firmly rooted in the stadium indie arena. Don't misunderstand me, the songs are well-crafted in the most part, and they obviously have a talent for pop hooks - but there's nothing groundbreaking about it. The Anglo-American influences are apparent on opener 'Words of Spectacular,' which at least trespasses (in fact more completely invades) Killers territory. But with even The Killers themselves struggling to breathe life into the genre they once led, it's hard to see how Red Light Company are going to achieve this by themselves.
Fortunately for the band, the good production and overall pop sensibilities just about rescue some god-awful lyrics. The bizarrely angst-ridden sentiment of 'Arts and Crafts' is slightly laughable when Richard Frenneaux tells: 'I was the first and I was the last/I wasn't good at arts and crafts, no.' I anticipate some listeners may struggle to understand his pain.With 'First We Land,' it's not so much the lyrics that stand out but the Tom DeLonge style of vowel mangling that draws a wince - it was barely credible when a Californian did it a decade ago and still seems rather silly now.
Having said this, there is a still a definite demand for this amongst the masses, and Red Light Company certainly have enough radio appeal to sell a few records. But whilst this album provides nothing particularly offensive, it is often scraping average.