It's a Musical - The Music Makes Me Sick

by Rich Morris Rating:3 Release Date:2010-03-15

I was expecting to be besotted by The Music Makes Me Sick, the debut album by Berlin-based duo It's a Musical. "In various places on the album, you'll find jazzy rhythms, electro-pop flashes and big, Burt Bacharach choruses. Scratch the glossy surface and there's bite to the lyrics, and longing too." So says the accompanying press materials, and to a lady like me whose musical obsessions range from the trio of pink-sequinned pop tarts in the Sheila's Wheels adverts (who I maintain are The Pipettes, moonlighting in disguise) to Hefner, IAMX and The Knife, that sounded a sure hit.

And we started off well. I'm down with the jaunty 70s Yamaha organ and synthesisers. It's been done before, and it can be irritatingly twee, but on occasion it works. But from there I started getting upset. Ella's vocals aren't pure or powerful enough to convey emotion, and end up sounding flat and weak. The tunes aren't infectious enough and the choruses aren't catchy.

If this was a demo tape, and I was in a good mood, I'd maybe be intrigued. But as a finished product, it's nowhere near slick enough. Considering that they claim they're "looking to inject a little colour into the music industry with their unashamedly joyous music," this was a complete washout for me. The album's so gentle that I start to wonder whether I've been had, and that this might be a band who specialise in lullabies to send brats to sleep.

I can sort of see what they're aiming for, but they haven't gone far enough, resulting in an yawn-inducing re-hash of what other bands have already done, far better and decades ago. It's a Musical need to realise that try as they might, this is not the early 90s, and they are not Belle & Sebastian.

I'm bored, annoyed and feel slightly dirty, but not in a good way. Ironically, The Music Makes Me Sick made me feel a bit sick, so I'm off to take the taste away with some Jack Daniels, Mötley Crüe and revolting, anonymous sex with strangers. I need it to restore my rock'n'roll powers after listening to this tedious claptrap.

Jane Bradley

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