¡Forward, Russia! - Give Me a Wall
Reviewed by Dave on 22nd May 2006
Leeds is a strange place. ¡Forward, Russia! is one of the city's most promising bands, and 'Give Me a Wall' is their debut album, released on their own imprint; Dance to the radio.
"Math rock influenced pop miniatures wrapped in a coating of chaos disco" Is how the band describes themselves on their Myspace. "Chaos" is a good word to use; every track sounds like it was created by chaos theory itself, with chaotic (ok, I'm using it far too much now) guitars balanced by the beautiful vocals of Tom Woodhead.
The first thing you'll notice about the album is that none of the tracks have names as such, they are all numbers. The second thing you'll notice is that it doesn't start with 'One', but in fact kicks off with 'Thirteen', which sets the tone for the whole album this is noisy indie rock and it is excellent.
Album highlights include the most recent single 'Nine' with its hammering chorus line of "Lost in a sea of conjecture", if you are not sure if you will like the band then this song is an excellent one to buy to test the water as it were. 'Twelve' has lovely guitar parts, and 'Eighteen' for me makes the album complete with the band showing that they can do "less noisy" very well as.
With a lot of albums I find that there are always a few bad tracks, you know the type that seem to drag on for ever. I don't think I have ever heard a "perfect album" where every single song was amazing and blew me away. On 'Give Me a Wall' the song 'Sixteen' lets it down a bit at 5 minutes 48 seconds it's second the longest song on there and it does seem to drag in the middle, also I'm not too fond of 'Seven' but its not actually a bad song, neither of them are, its just personal taste. With the last two tracks, however, the band recovers the ground they seemed to lose in 'Sixteen' and 'Seven'.
The closing track 'Eleven' (weighing in at a hefty 7 and a half minutes) is an excellent song, it starts with what by this point I have come to expect, some heavy guitars and a bit of screaming, then in the middle it all goes quiet, Tom's vocals are muted and the guitars are low. As you think the song is fading out it explodes again for a few seconds and then fades out with distorted vocals, synthesizer and guitar noises and some rather ace cymbals.
As debut albums go this is great, its one of my favourite albums at the minute. Hopefully they can maintain this kind of energy throughout their careers which I'm sure will be long, and perhaps even illustrious.
The band are heading out on their own headline tour in July and will be playing the Carling Festivals (Leeds on the Friday and Reading on the Sunday), they are well worth checking out if they are in your area.
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