Review of Methods Album by White Belt Yellow Tag

yourcodenameis:milo were one of those cult bands from the north east who like Field Music were on many people's cool lists, but by and large stayed in that box marked 'Angular and difficult to get on with'. With the band having gone on permanent hiatus - which is the new way of saying they've split up - in 2007, former guitarist Justin Lockey went on to get together with Craig Pilbin in forming White Belt Yellow Tag, a name according to their Wikipedia entry inspired by the level he once managed to reach at Taekwando.

White Belt Yellow Tag Methods Album

Enough of that disrespect. 'milo were one of those bands who created handfuls of acolytes so rabid that full body tattooing was regarded as merely a coward's way out, so I'll let the boys worry about what the seethingly devoted will make of Methods. I will do a little plot spoiling for everyone else though by saying the words 'Didactic post rock' are not the first that spring to mind.

In fact, by way of comparison Methods seems to garner much of its influence almost directly from Interpol, older Radiohead and in its more relaxed moments, Coldplay, especially on the euphoric 'It's a Long Way, Don't You Fall Behind'. Lockey has in the past described the trio's sound as 'Massive', and the quiet/(Very) loud tilt of 'You're Not Invincible' conjures the pop-tones-grabbed-by-the throat hubris of ancient Livepool stalwarts Echo & The Bunnymen.

It's probably the wrong conclusion, but at times in the early stages it feels like Lockey is trying to prove that, despite his history, he can write 'proper' songs with broad horizons and technicolour ambition, especially after the stratospheric pretensions of 'Always and Echoes'. You can still be interesting without playing in 7/18 time of course. Or even when everything sounds like it was recorded in St. James' Park, and eventually somebody finds the reverb 'Off' button, leading to the likes of the quieter but no less rewarding 'Ode' and the potted grandeur of closer 'Careless Talk And Sinking Ships'. It's always a brave and cathartic move to step away from what the few held very dear, and in Methods the trio prove that the break is clean alright. With a bit more poise, they could find a new army of admirers next time round.

Andy Peterson

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