Labelled rather lazily as the British answer to TV On The Radio, The Invisible have received much praise for their debut offering, including a Mercury Music Prize nomination. The comparison is largely informed by the “black guy sings indie music” label but all the same it’s not wholly inaccurate. The Invisible dispense a similar kind of off-kilter alternative pop music but bolster it with a love of funk.
‘In Retrograde’ is a forlorn, subtle way to start but it’s unrepresentative of the album. ‘Constant’ breaks out the low-slung guitars and is much more like it. It’s a sweaty, danceable little number which meanders a bit but still excites like all good first records should. ‘London Girl’ is also great as it uses a Spandau Ballet-esque sweaty funk template but backs it up with Dave Okumu’s smooth vocals and a blissful chorus. Then there’s the lovely ‘OK’; assisted by backing female cooing, it contains a head-spinning chorus full of warmth and melody.
Regrettably, The Invisible seem to have lost the thread by the album’s end. The most “out there” track – the explosive ‘Climate’; a clash of opera and maddening percussion – is still fascinating but whether you’ll be listening to it in a year’s time is another question. The final two tracks also mistake experimentation for addictive songwriting with an OTT exuberance that reminds me of the last Bloc Party album.
Having recently been unmoved by the latest TV On The Radio offering and confused by the amount of attention it has received, The Invisible seem a far more solid proposition. Most of their songs are hook-laden and whilst some are over-complicated, they seem to be making music that deserves repeated plays at home, rather than to nod sagely to whilst weaing a waistcoat.
TV On The Radio, Bloc Party