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  Sharks & Anglers  

Motumbos Hostpital

Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

I'd hate to see Motumbos Hospital's bedroom, because if this five-track ep is anything to go by, then we're looking at one big tip. The one word that keeps springing to mind when I hear Motumbos Hospital is - and I'm sorry, chaps - 'messy'. This is a shame, because with their simple recipe of loud guitars, bass riffs, and a driving beat, as well as a singer who sounds like a cross between James Dean Bradfield and Brian Molko, Motumbos Hospital have a lot going for them. Unfortunately, they come across as overly fussy, spoiling what could be a winning combination by slowing things down unnecessarily and changing things every few bars. Now I'm not advocating that every band get one simple riff and make it last forever, or every record would sound like The Fall's Repetition (though on the other hand, maybe that's no bad thing!). But, Motumbos Hospital remind me of when I saw Damo Suzuki live. His band spent ages clamouring through some riffing wasteland trying to get to a certain point, but, when they eventually got to a kind of musical nirvana, they didn't make it pay. Instead, they were on to the next bit instead of holding it just for a minute. And Motumbos Hospital are guilty of this on virtually every number here.

Sharks & Anglers opens strongly with Tallest Man Among Giants, with a great opening Fugazi-like riff and machine gun drums, followed by a shouty chorus that worms its way through your defences. But, even here, there's the odd interlude where they seem to indulge in riffing for riffing's sake. With Krylon, which follows, is the worst offender though. It opens with a splattering riff and pounding drums, before it slows right down as the singer opines "I'll still sleep well at night" over an unnecessary tuneless dirgey bit. This does nothing to serve what was at first a promsiing song and just leaves you wondering if the band were knackered and needed a quick breather after a mere 45 seconds in.

Mazola Man is better, opening with a JJ Burnell-style bass and a guitar riff that sounds like someone doing to Land of 1000 Dances what Hendrix once did to Star Spangled Banner. The track builds nicely, though we still get the obligatory aren't-we-clever bits. But then they eventually get to the peak they should have been aiming for all along. The next track, Simple, has a real spirit of '76 feel about it, and is not unlike Fish by the early Damned with its "who's simple?" chant and Rat Scabies-like drum rolls. Again, the band take things down. But it is more successful this time, because the slowed down bit with its more memorable melody adds something. However, I'm not sure it needs yet another riff at the end though, especially as that part is like something that your local metal band would try and impress us with.

The disc finishes with Frightened / Numb which is probably the best track on the ep, with its ferocious riff. Bizarrely, there's also a bit where the vocals sound like Freddie Mercury. Still, there's real power as the track builds and drops beautifully with some nice Sonic Youth like touches.

I know this review has dwelt on what I feel are the negatives, but I think there's promise here. Certainly, there's a good EP trying to get out somewhere, but Motumbos Hospital definitely need to stop trying to impress us so much. If it's good enough, it'll happen anyway. Only Robbie Williams fans love a show-off and Motumbos Hospital have got to curb their excesses.

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