Detroit Social Club - Existence

by Rich Morris Rating:1 Release Date:2010-05-31

"If creation taught us how to dream, has education turned us into machines?" asks the inside sleeve of Detroit Social Club's debut album. In a word: no. Furthermore: oh dear. Perfect for people who like their over-inflated mainstream rock to come with a side order of hopelessly pretentious, cod-mystical soul-searching (ie, about 70 per cent of all Glastonbury attendees) Existence is like the soundtrack Richard Ashcroft probably hears in his head when he pops out for a pint of milk.

Existence's first two tracks, 'Kiss the Sun' and 'Northern Man' (check those titles - these guys know their audience), are about as colossal as mainstream rock can get. After that, DSC tone things down a little as they reveal the full breadth of their sound. 'Black & White' sounds like The Rolling Stones circa Exile on Main Street but with added electro bobbins, meaning that it actually sounds exactly like Primal Scream. 'Sunshine People' sounds like Kasabian, which again means it sounds like Primal Scream, but this time Primal Scream minus the talent. 'Rivers and Rainbows' features - I shit you not - a sitar, and thus will sound mind-warpingly experimental to anyone who's just emerged from a 50-year-long coma. And, to cut a long story short, so it goes for the duration. Interestingly, the longer the album goes on, the pronounced the Eastern influences become.

Another standout factor of DSC is their howlingly abysmal lyrics. This is a band that deals solely in clichés. "We'll be shining like the stars," they assure us on 'Silver'. "Just call my name and I'll be there" singer David Burn aches on 'Chemistry', which the kind of MOR sincerity Bono patented in the mid-80s. If these are songs designed for the sole purpose of giving large crowds something to bellow along to, and they are, then why did DCS even bother with words this banal? Burn could just wail wordlessly along to the guitar and it'd get the job done. Or better yet, the band should sell advertising space in their songs. Better to make some extra pocket money and save the time it must have taken to flip through old Oasis lyrics.

It all culminates in a chin-stroking song called 'Lights of Life', on which the hapless 'what's it all about?' philosophizing gets out of hand. Then comes something called 'Mind at War', which is apparently a hidden track, although if play this album on iTunes or some other media player than it's not so much a hidden track as, well, a track. As for Existence: if you think Kasabian are the best band in the universe and like going to festivals for the 'experience' (ie, you don't actually care who's playing) then allow Soundblab to introduce you to your album of the year. As for everyone else: avoid.

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