All male Brighton 5 piece Munich already sound like they've been compiled as someone's idea of a dream super group. With a line up that includes Weller, McKeown, Holmes, Howland and Slade you'd be forgiven for thinking that this were a corporate dream. The EP was produced at The Moles Studio in Bath by Paul Crockett, a previous aid to, among others, fellow Sussex dweller Nick Cave, The Cure and Placebo. Sadly you'll not find a Paul, Les, David, Keith or Chris among them, and as for 'Where Are You Know? getting plugged as a mini album rather than an EP, 'because of the strength of the songs', well....................it's 5 songs whichever way you spin it.
British Columbia is the lead track, all high note guitar breaks, taught percussion and creeping bass lines. Demographically I think it's fair to say that they'll be of broader appeal to a male audience. Whilst not ladish they do take cues from Editors, The Doves and to a lesser degree Coldplay and Keane. Stuart Slades voice sits atop most of the tracks and his vocal has very good intonation, it's articulate and expressive. All great key attributes for a singer, yes, but here, in the groups arena of choice you can't help feeling that they may be more well suited to Musical Theatre. I dare say the lead role in Joseph would prove to be no problem for Mr Slade. The Thief & The Carpenter (Not a sequel to The Bar Tender & The Thief) follows on with more guitar work taken from the schooling of David H Evans where creativity is foregone for familiarity. Lyrically lame, and not 'pushing the right buttons', I can't share John Kennedy's (XFM) enthusiasm...'Epic, I love them' when they are only offering up average.......'I am the darkness that drags you down everyday, I am the shadow that follows you to the grave.'
The slower, more intense and agonised 'Rome' and title track 'Where Are You Know?' work far better. The less anthemic more intimate arrangements both suiting Slades voice and capturing the musicianship of his fellow band mates. With a nod towards the Verve and The Blue Nile, Munich produce their best work on this EP. St Louis returns to the more formulaic, hands swaying in the air, stadium rock that they appear to be more fond of. For me enough is not made of the keyboard work of James McKeown and the direction the band are moving in may not be their forte.
'Where Are They Know?' is not without promise. It has its moments and certainly has a ready made market that will no doubt lap it up. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in polish and proficiency.
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