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Asylums: Genetic Cabaret

Asylums first album Killer Brain Waves was great: heads down no-nonsense rock played fast and tight but with lots of melody and a nice DIY ethos about it; a good band having fun.

They obviously did ok out of it (and the second, which we missed) and this new one sounds more expensively made … but it’s lost the manic charm that made the first one so appealing.

We’d note that the Louder Than War website calls it “a big leap forward” for the band and they’ve obviously got slicker and more commercial, so it’s perhaps a case of “we only like bands when they’re raw”; it’s clearly good for bands to have fans early doors, but not so good as the band’s career progresses. With fans like that, who needs enemies?

Opener Catalogue Kids has got the same basic approach as the first album, a sharp guitar riff, lots of drums and a melodic chorus and, despite the roughness being produced out, it’s pretty good. An indie bouncer with charm.

Platitudes and A Perfect Life In A Perfect World are more of the same, the slicker sound evoking Foos/Manic comparisons.

A Perfect Life In A Perfect World is good if you like arena crowd pleasers (fair play, it’s probably what the band wants) but we’re just not feeling the love we felt for the debut.

Onto what would be side two and The Distance Between Left And Right is disjointed and a bit horrible, Yuppie Germs has a lot of heat but little lasting impression.

The title track comes near the end and crosses Blur with Nirvana, suggesting the way the band might head, we guess, losing some of the earlier signature sounds. Closer Dull Days is slower.

They’ve got a sound that’s not like anyone else, and even if they’ve lost the roughness, the quirky charm is still there. Worth a listen if you like honest, working indie guitar bands.

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