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Hood | Cold House (Domino)
I wondered where my thesaurus went. Swallowed whole by the author of the press release that accompanied this album it seems. "The most forward thinking, innovative and yes, radical album by any British band this year" it proclaims in a rare moment of restraint. Like it's up against stiff competition. For all that, I'm wondering how much better You Show No Emotion At All would sound if real drums replaced those that show no emotion at all, or if Lou Barlow's voice could be superimposed over those that show no emotion at all, whether the song's true colours would be revealed. Instead, residing in their cold house, they're reduced to pale blues and greys conjured up by their Northern England environs. Sorry, that's "the hotbed of industrial decline and tertiary-sector dementia that is Northern England" to you. It's grim up North, y'know. A record like this doesn't stand a chance living up to the claims of its companion-piece, folded, photocopied A4 manifesto. The "stunning guest appearances by Dose One and Why? Of the acclaimed US team Clouddead" are, I'll assume, those ill-fitting interjections that sound like crosstalk feeding into a studio mic, or a rogue radio signal picked up through an un-earthed amp. Ooh, it's catching. We're told that Hood have rediscovered "innovators" like Disco Inferno, Bark Psychosis, Talk Talk, Durrutti Column, PIL and MBV (they throw in John Martyn too, but you know the author doesn't have a clue who he is), contradicting their claim that this is a forward thinking record. It's another nostalgia fest, albeit one that revels in music's darkest decade. It takes an upswing in energy to realise that what felt like one long note was actually half the album's duration...and then I Can't Find My Brittle Youth boasts one of those fey, faux-angry vocals loved only by eye-liner adorned pretty boys and their four page, glitter-smeared fanzine-making girlfriends. "We hope to make music that moves in on you, starts taking up space in your life, starts exerting unreasonable demands on you" they say. This one's about to start taking up space in a second hand record store, am I being unreasonable?

Matt Dornan
November 2001