quite possibly the best debut album you will leap yourself upon in 2007...
Jamie Milton
23:09 8th July 2007

One of the most interesting things about contemporary music is the fact that someone’s opinion on a band can sway due to the opinion of several others. One example of this would be the image of a very good album being portrayed as a groundbreaking album due to hype. And it’s easy to put an image into your head of ‘Forward March!’ becoming the new ‘Funeral’ if enough people fell in love with it. There is enough substance in each and every song on this record that it could bring out an overwhelming amount of joy to the listener. But they should probably calm themselves down before they describe it as the best thing to come out of the 21st century thus far.

The main element that strikes the others away is the element of potential that comes along with The Strange Death of Liberal England, arguably the only good band to come out of Portsmouth in the last few years, an odd thing considering the passionate attitude that the city gives out due to its many heralded music venues. When listening to this debut album, you get this funny feeling inside of you; the feeling that if this band tried hard enough, good God, they could go places. Another thing that stands out is how easy it is to uncover the influences that look likely to have affected the band in some way or another during the writing and recording process.

Let’s see, first of all there’s the atmosphere and nerve of British Sea Power that comes about in every track and beyond. Then there’s Arcade Fire who creep about in ‘Oh Solitude’ and you can even hear the heroic sounds of Jonny Greenwood’s guitar in opener ‘Modern Folk Song’, a track that puts every other moment of the album in the shadows after the very first listen. Vocals could also be deemed similar to that of Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock. ‘God Damn Broke And Broken Hearted’ being the most obvious example, with its tenaciousness, and careless yet effortlessly expertly achieved presence. This debut album recorded by these strangers from Portsmouth ends up sounding like the supergroup you always dreamt of. Like Broken Social Scene, only in reciprocal form.

The astounding thing about all these influences is that they work together, creating some sort of unimaginable masterpiece that not even these indie music based dreams could conjure up. The tiny annotation on the CD reads: “Traditional marching songs to learn and play” hinting at innocence and lack of ambition. What actually lies beneath is quite possibly the best debut album you will leap yourself upon in 2007. So you can go out and claim that this is the best thing you’ve heard in this short century so far, and there’s an ounce of hope that quite a few musical fanatics will agree with you.