Ah, the indie landfill site, a place reserved the staid, generic and Bombay Bicycle Club. While not everyone can ooze creativity like Arcade Fire, boast the songwriting prowess of The National or espouse boundless experimentalism such as The Horrors, it's a worry when bands fall into the trap of sounding like they're supposed to. And by "suppose" we mean it in the most literal, Radio One-cum-Sky Super Sunday friendly sense of the word. You see, there's a nagging concern that too many bands spend far too much time concentrating on the opposition, studying what sells units and is likely to get played soundtracking Wayne Rooney's latest goal and as a result sacrifice their own integrity in the process. Sure, it's a difficult time now for any budding artist stepping onto the first rungs of the ladder but as time goes on its becoming increasingly obvious that the ones with the most credibility and ultimately, longevity are those that stay true to their own instincts rather than follow the herd.
Which brings us on to Flashguns and 'Passions Of A Different Kind'. Having emerged a couple of years ago on the back of a couple of excellent singles ('Locarno' and the 'Matching Hearts, Similar Parts' EP) and support slots opening for the likes of Jamie T and Ida Maria, the London-based quartet seemed to disappear from the public eye, returning earlier this summer as a three-piece with a batch of new songs. While a return to the drawing board can augment the most feasible solution for bands stuck in limbo, it doesn't seem to have done Flashguns that many favours if 'Passions Of A Different Kind' is anything to go by. Sure, their ambition is there for all to see. Having enlisted esteemed producer Stephen Street to work on their earliest recordings, its clear that Flashguns sights have been set much higher than the local student indie night from day one. However, the muddled collection of songs that 'Passions Of A Different Kind' is comprised of reeks of a band hedging their bets in as many camps as possible yet never really making a claim for permanent residence in any.
And yet it all starts so promisingly, the heavy guitar histrionics of opener 'Sounds Of The Forrest' recalling Britrockers such as Three Colours Red or Feeder at their incisive best. Unfortunately, the problem lies hereon in after. The title track floats around before disappearing with a whimper. As an exercise in forgettable it ticks all the boxes, languid and average from beginning to end. Sadly, the lull continues for the next four songs, 'No Point Hanging Around' and 'The Beginning' both following the now tired formula of loud-quiet-fast-slow with predictable ease, while 'Candles Out' and 'Good Breeding' continues down the one dimensional Two Door Maccadrums Bicycle Weekend route ad infinitum.
By the time 'Heat & Fire' brings the record back to life, its chorus mildly reminiscent of Martha & The Muffins new wave classic 'Echo Beach' before 'Come And See The Lights' restores the rock aesthetic of the opener, its almost too little too late, and a case of what might have been. The punchy 'Noah' once again serves as a timely reminder of Flashguns promise but on the whole, 'Passions Of A Different Kind' is a disappointing collection from a band once touted for great things.