Album sequencing may be less important in our shuffling, pick n’ mix age, but I still can’t think of any decent reason for Club Smith to open their debut album with the dull dirge of Mantra. The track is a stodgy, 80s referencing indie plodder, part U2 b side, part Echo & The Bunnymen reject, and if it has to be on the album at all, would be far better buried some place near the middle of side 2 (if we pretend this is a record for a moment).
After this shaky first moment, Appetite for Chivalry rallies somewhat, with the cocky Kaiser Chief’s style shout & stomp of No Friend of Mine and the jerking factory rhythm of Beautiful & Useless going someway to redress the balance. Further in the album, forthcoming single Lament is a high point, with cascades of ethnic-y percussion adding an intelligent edge to it’s stadium sized chorus.
Over 12 tracks however, the band have limited appeal. Other than the occasional nifty bassline, they tend towards the derivative, reaching for epic chorus’s and soaring melodies but regularly coming off as landfill indie chancers. The will may be there, but the songs just ain’t. The slow burn of I didn’t want to show you that I’d lost faith points in a more promising direction, with their ambitions better served by the booming wall of sound drums and squalls of guitar. Unfortunately though, this torch song is alone on the album, and as it is Appetite for Chivalry is a pretty average effort that could have worked just as well as a 4 track EP.