The British IBM appear to have taken nerdy indie rock to a whole new level with their band name inspired by a punch-up between Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry, who founded the Sinclair and Acorn computer companies respectively. Such devotion surely sets the scene for introspective, geeky indie pop. Not quite so, in this case.
Indeed, lead-off song ‘Animal’ is based on the kind of simple riff which underscores so many Brit-pop bands and ‘Sugar Water’ sounds like its going to turn into Sixpence None The Richer’s ‘Kiss Me’ at any minute. Nevertheless, Adrian Killens is a likeable vocalist; his delivery seems forever on the verge of tears. The title track makes the best use of his talents as the band move from a playful indie sound to urgent new wave-flavoured rock to recount the Sinclair/Curry battle as if it were a tension-filled love story. Encouragingly, ‘Good Afternoon’ projects the right air of wired energy and menace whilst ‘Cannibal’ resembles the early work of Suede. On the debit side, Open Your Eyes’ and ‘Feeling’ are on a par with B-sides from The Auteurs; which make them solid album tracks but somewhat lacking in adventure.
After that brilliant first single, one can’t help but feel that this is a missed opportunity for the British IBM because what could have been a radically different album slips too often into indie rock cliché. Nevertheless it’s concise, the songs are broadly infectious and the best songs here bode well for future records.
Suede, The Auteurs