The Enemy - Streets in the Sky

by James Bray Rating:6 Release Date:2012-05-21

In 2009, The Enemy's pigeon-breasted swagger was hamstrung by the relative critical and commercial failure of Music for the People. Streets in the Sky is the group's attempt to bury that memory and become something more than provincial pub-rockers whose songs sound like Britpop covers.

The album is immediately accessible, but that's because the template of the songs is so familiar; it's three-chord lager rock with shouty vocals and a bit of a solo, but it's done quite well. The influence of Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller is still very present although Tom Clarke's nearly-there rock-star personality does come through loud and clear. The songs are a bit heavier than the group's previous work with a simple, energetic guitar wash giving the album an almost punk pop feel, like The Enemy are Britain's slightly confused answer to Green Day. The MTV punkiness probably comes from that the fact that the album has been edited down from a huge number of songs (so it's lean) and then compressed to make it sound loud. Nonetheless, it still sounds like it's 1999 turned up to 10.
The first two songs, 'Gimme a Sign' and 'Bigger Cages, Longer Chains' are good but they sound a bit like Stereophonics in their hayday. The problem with this album is that you spend a lot the time asking yourself, where have I heard this before? Songs like 'Saturday' and 'Come into My World' are so generic and derivative that they make you lose the will to live.
At the 2008 NME awards, Farris Badwan of The Horrors presented The Enemy with the award for Best New Band by saying, "The Enemy, they're young, they're beautiful and they laugh in the face of natural selection". Quite funny and a typically arch statement from The Horrors' frontman. That put-down actually says quite a lot about English class politics; the same old rivalry between the middle-class, London-centric group and the working class rockers from the provinces. This treatment of The Enemy is also evident in some of the more snotty reivews of Streets in the Sky. This album isn't great and it's certainly designed to impress music journalists, but it will please the casual crowd and delight teenagers and pub landlords.

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