Music Reviews
South Of The City

Albany Down South Of The City

(AD Recordings) Rating - 1/10

There are some bands that just don’t get it. Bands that take themselves so seriously - yet get it so stupendously wrong - that you actually begin to doubt their grasp on reality. Albany Down are one of them, and South of the City is a hideous attempt at aping classic acts (or “not forgetting to give a respectful nod of recognition to the glorious past”, as their website so subtly puts it) and packaging it into something radio-friendly and entirely devoid of character.

From the outset, the band make their intentions perfectly clear: Dirty evokes both Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady and Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love within the first bar, before the instantly groansome lyrics start to tell their cliché-ridden tale (“I’ve been coming / You’ve been gone / Leave me twisted / Turn me on”). The words are delivered in an earnest, silky-smooth southern drawl that would sound pretentious even if they were American (they are from Bedford). And this essentially tells the story of the whole album: shameless pastiches of rock ‘n’ roll classics, gift-wrapped in squeaky-clean production and boasting lyrics that appear to have been scribbled down during a drunken game of classic rock buzzword bingo.

But the band’s most heinous crime, funnily enough, is no pastiche - it’s a cover. A cover of Duffy’s Mercy, no less, which might as well be followed in parentheses by ‘Dear Jim, please fix it for us to play on Radio 1 Live Lounge’. Musically it takes heavy cues from (sorry, ‘respectfully nods to’) Nothing Else Matters by Metallica, and quite frankly it’s very difficult to see the point.

In a short interview with the band on their website, the lead singer is asked: “What does Albany Down offer that is different to other bands?”. His response: “Mainly balls”. And those two words, my dear friends, sum this album up far better than I ever could.