Hard-hitting, American-ised pop rock...
Jamie Milton
11:17 14th October 2009

Tubelord would like to think they've arrived at a good time. Whilst autoned-vocals and nostalgic 80's pop sounds/images reach the end of their tether, and as a new decade beckons, a rock music revival seems on the cards. Tubelord aren't a bona-fide rock trio, but they're likely candidates to be at the forefront of a backlash that so many of us are craving. And yet the troubling likelihood is that they'll remain overlooked, that sales will dwindle and they might split and individually move on to new places, new professions even.

So many bands are producing the British-rooted, casual, pop-punk glory that so restlessly dominates 'Our First American Friends', and yet your Johnny Foreigners, your Colours, your Calories, they all remain relatively understated and underground. It's a hidden pleasure for many but the fact that this kind of infectious music hasn't yet reached the heights of chart success spells trouble.

'Night Of Pencil''s chant of "We're bigger than Memphis, you only exist, when I want you to", 'Propeller''s stop-start inventiveness, the art-frenzy method of releasing the aforementioned (asking hundreds of artists to contribute their own design to an individual vinyl sleeve), it's a near-mystery as to why Tubelord haven't grown rapidly in reputation. There must be a reason: Be it that their contemporaries and themselves sound so alike, be it that radio producers don't deem this daytime-friendly ('Night Of Pencils' and awakening opener 'Your Bed Is Kind Of Frightening' don't shy of pulling punches), Tubelord are just one of many bands producing hard-hitting, American-ised pop rock only to be shown the door by commercial success. 'Our First American Friends' is surprisingly pop orientated, compressing edgy anthems ('I Am Azerrad') with smoother acoustic numbers ('Cows To The East Cities To The West'), displaying variety, avoiding comfort zones. The finest asset of this album though is its unpredictability, expertly displayed in the agitated changeability of 'Propeller' which prides itself on the element of surprise.

This is an album barren of pretense, topped to the brim with attitude and brash actions. It exhibits expert crafting and interchanging of pace and mood and it excites you like 'Waited Up 'Til It Was Light...' did, like 'Adventuring' did. Both those preceding and Tubelord's debut deserve to become cult favourites, even if this genre of music is the first clear-cut victim of illegal file-sharing and lack of major press attention combined.