Yes! Tinnitus! – Shooting At Unarmed Men

Label: Too Pure

So this, the label announce, is Shooting At Unarmed Men’s “first album proper”. Making last year’s 10 track debut ‘Soon There Will Be Shooting At Unarmed Men’ what, just a spot of horseplay, a pointless smidgen of clattering round, a bit of a laugh? We thought that was the whole point of the band anyway? But if there is more to them that’s honestly a bit of a relief, Jon Chapple’s first out of the blocks post-Mclusky project had failed to shake off the impression of a man relapsing without the cash for a fix. They were really quite rubbish but likeable, there were Mclusky fans out there in need of a fix too and they at least came along with a recognizably distorted voice box, pulling all the right shapes. It was sufficient to plug a gap, but long term? So, what of this “first album proper”?

Essentially all it actually equates to is not sounding like it was recorded down a drain in a downtown Cardiff back street, which is an achievement of sorts. But with higher productions values – though obviously there’s nothing nearing the Albini tweaked assault of the last 2 Mclusky records – the dearth of ideas on display is given even more clarity. Don’t get us wrong, this is a tighter collection of tunes and goes beyond a closing time brawl given badly tuned instruments and amplification, but it lacks the distillation process that Mclusky songs obviously went through and sounds like a man playing on because there’s nothing much else to do.

There are moments though, of course there are moments, Andy Falkous can’t have done all the work back in the day. ‘Pathos Ate Bathos’ is a gritty opener, like an ‘In Utero’ b-side cast off given to Shudder To Think and sounding a little like early Faith No More. ‘All Hail Sergio’ is tinny and hard hitting, like a Judas Priest/Fugazi hybrid, and at least leaves a physical impression.  ‘In-flight Instructions Are A Joke, I Say’ loops towards its close around an infectious country bar-room holler of “she drank the whole bottle down” hinting at a necessary eclecticism that remains too hidden. What made Mclusky so very essential was the fact that they went twice as far as was absolutely necessary. Shooting At Unarmed Men have their thumbs out trying to hitch a lift.

Release: Shooting At Unarmed Men - Yes! Tinnitus!
Review by:
Released: 28 May 2006