Album Review: Audio Bullys – Higher Than The Eiffel

5 05 2010

Higher Than The Eiffel is the third full-length release from Audio Bullys, it’s been a long time coming since their 2005 effort, Generation, and after five years, you expect great things, don’t you? On first listen, there isn’t a huge pop single – their last album had the massive dance-floor filler Shot You Down, and their debut release, Ego War, had We Don’t Care – there isn’t an obvious hit on HTTE. The first single, Only Man, is however, a solid enough offering, featuring Audio Bullys trademark heavy beats and rock-star swagger – perfect material for a British club/drug culture flick where the guy and the girl meet, miaowed off their faces and make sweet sweet love together – think Renton and Diane in Trainspotting, a generation on.

Drug-references are evident throughout the album, the first words uttered are “What the hell are you on?”, whilst later on we’re treated to some clunky lyrics such as “too much cocaine, too much brandy”. It’s music to get messed up to, but as much as it seems like a party album on the surface, there’s a dark underbelly, with lines such as, “all the beauty i’ve created, turned me into everything i hated” / “i’m on the edge, i’m on the brink, imagining blood dripping down the sink”. It’s grim stuff at times, lyrically.

The most obvious comparison, musically, is to the Streets, but more dance-oriented with bigger beats and dumbed down lyrics. There’s a distinctive British rock-vibe too, you can hear hints of the Stone Roses and the Clash. The album’s flow is disjointed and it drags a little, particularly towards the end where some of the tracks are by-numbers (slow intro, banging techno, repeat). Drums is a poor opener (2 minute intro on a sub 4 minute song?), Daisy Chains is a Mike-Skinner styled spoken-word tune with a great pop chorus, slightly let down by an overly long and dreary ending, Twist Me Up is probably the album highlight, featuring (and highly influenced by) Suggs and Mike from Madness, it really is Madness 2010 – their customary ska-funk groove techno’d up and revitalized to make it relevant today. Feel Alright sounds like Gorillaz, whilst London Dreamer is another of the better tracks – it’s quirky, dark-pop which sounds like it’s delivered by a depressed circus clown, in a totally brilliant way.

With a disjointed flow and too much filler, this album probably hasn’t been worth the wait, in truth. Although there are some bright moments, it’s not hardcore enough for dance fans, not catchy enough for pop fans and too techno for Brit-rock fans, without a genuinely storming single to generate some attention for a group that have been out of the spotlight for several years, this one’s gonna be a hard sell.

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