The Savage Nomads - Coloured Clutter

by Al Brown Rating:3 Release Date:2011-06-06

The Savage Nomads are a young London band who make some kind of laughable, minimal post-nu-metal. Is there a word for being sort of impressed (or at least surprised) by an artist's naivety while also scoffing uncontrollably at their total lack of self-awareness? The Germans probably have one. But what am I? Some kind of hipster Jekyll and Hyde? Why frame everything through some bullshit post-everything lens? Can't a piece of music be taken in the spirit in which it was intended? Why do I gotta hate?

Well, there's a reason that music goes forward, then goes in cycles, then goes forward again. There's a reason why Band A is remembered fondly and Band B is forgotten. No band is an island: change is good; innovation is good. The Savage Nomads seem to think they are innovators, but they are not - when you push into new territories of gaucheness you don't suddenly turn a corner and whoa! The earth's flipped on its axis and you're riding a wave of genuine inspiration!

The first half of the album sounds like KoRn, had KoRn been markedly quieter and averse to distortion. Fuck, this music is dull. I'm sitting here listening to it thinking about how much I want to listen to Harlem's cover of 'No True Love' by The Dixie Cups: a drunken, sloppy version of a three-chord rock 'n' roll classic that is at least a billion times better and more heartfelt than anything on this album. Go listen to that song (original or cover: both awesome) then come back so I can bore you about the stupid fiddly guitar riffing which is such a big part of this record's obnoxiousness.

Singer Cole Salewicz is such an obvious trustafarian, doing his weak-ass Hayden Thorpe impressions and sub-Los Campesinos spoken word confessionals over his bandmates' restless noodling. When he hollers "Shame" (or "Shaman") on 'The Shamanic Verses', he is a British, middle-class Anthony Kiedis, with none of the over-sexed smackhead bluster that kind of excused The Chili Peppers from criticism (for a while). And he raps too - badly, worse even than Kiedis.

Some of the basslines are dub-reggae influenced, and then there is actually a 'proper' dub track, in the form of 'A Dire Dub' which is aptly named and mercifully short. I think all of the dudes are white, not that it matters, because everyone's free to make whatever music they want in this hatefully tolerant world. 'Pineapple' is such lazy, obvious comedown music I can almost feel the goodwill for my friends turning into fucking despair at their minor personality deficiencies and I want to go into a corner and cry about how horrible my life is.

The second half of the album is nowhere near as intolerable as the first: 'A Burnt Out Case' is by turns raging and soaring, thanks to some much more believable vocals and a pretty guitar riff. 'Eternal Elizabeth' is too precious and too prog for me, but some of you Wild Beasts fans might dig it. Epic closer 'Dickie Greenleaf' is pleasant enough, taking in pretty melancholia, furious riffing, cellos, cod-metal and about a million tempo changes. It should be terrible, it isn't (it's not amazing either, but hey.)

Still, you can't frontload an album with that much shit and expect people to sit through it until it's merely inoffensive but unmemorable. These dudes are very young, so they could improve, but they need to find their own identity: they need spend a few long weekends looking into the mirror - in the sense that Mark understands it - and probably in the Super Hans way too.

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