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For Against | Coalesced (Words-on-Music)
Nebraskans For Against have released six albums in a career that began in 1985. Strangely, their music sounds both American and British - American in that there are obvious reference points from the late-Sixties, mainly in the vocals of Jeffrey Runnings, who also wrote the album's seven longish songs. Where things start to get interesting is the Anglo-fied arrangements - the pace of the songs, the use of guitars, the whole production - which cries out The Stone Roses. But where the Roses are revered for their trademark loping, funky beat, For Against take a more traditional stance - this is straightahead, structured rock music, with plenty of chiming guitars that sweeten the textures. Indeed the shortest song, Outside A Heart, which breaks the tape at a mere 3.34, is the most insistent cut of them all and took me straight back to a world of Johnny Marr and the kind of adrenalin-rush stuff he was capable of creating in his prime. Altogether, Coalesced is a bit of an enigma - one minute it's very early eighties British indie; next there's a touch of post-rock. This is finely crafted material that cries out for a bigger stage.

John Stacey
March-April 2004