Asylums are a DIY band and this is out on a label run out of a back bedroom in Southend-on-Sea, but the lack of external, objective control is perhaps their Achilles heel. There are some outright excellent songs on this album, which falls short of greatness by a lack of focus.
The tunes fall into three camps: Foo Fighters’ style melodic rock; rock/pop songs that are more melodic, in the vein of Feeder, then less melodic, thrashier tracks. They could really do with ditching the last and doing what they’re really good at, melodic rock; they could give the Foos a run for Dave’s money any day.
Opener Second Class Sex is one of the thrashier songs, and despite playing this album perhaps 20 times, we’ve never warmed to it; it lacks charm. Elsewhere, Wet Dream Fanzine is similar and The Death of Television is half thrashy, half catchy.
On the other hand, the hook-laden I’ve Seen Your Face In A Magazine has a wonky Foos riff that we can’t believe we hadn’t heard until two weeks ago. An early standout. Also in this category is Monosyllabic Saliva and Necessary Appliance.
Standout in the poppier section is the excellent Missing Persons, while Joy In A Small Wage is a likeable a pop/rock tune, followed by the equally likeable Bad Influence, which is a bit like early Feeder (as are Born To Not Belong and Sunday Commuters).
All in all: very enjoyable in places, let down by the charmless heavier numbers. Fans of the Foos should check it out.