The Music may be taking the long road, but with Strength In Numbers they've started...
Julian Marszalek 2008-06-13
It's an age old rock 'n' roll story but one that's set to be repeated again and again. Tired and exhausted from yet another gruelling U.S. tour that topped a seven-year campaign of recording and extensive gigging, Kippax quartet, The Music, found themselves burnt out, and utterly despondent. Worse still, here was a band that couldn't stand the sight of each other. Studio sessions ground to halt while their label - no longer returning their calls - quietly dropped them. Under normal circumstances, the stock response of most bands would be to split up, but clearly, The Music are made of sterner stuff. Despite a four-year gap since the release of Welcome To The North and the domination of neighbours Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives - not to mention the appearance of any number of dance-based outfits - The Music's third album finds the band fighting back by venturing deep into electronic territory.
Aided and abetted by former Orbital mainstay Paul Hartnoll along with P.J.Harvey and Depeche Mode knob twiddler Flood, Strength In Numbers is The Music's strongest set yet. From the opening pulses of the title track, the band's move to new pastures is abundantly apparent. Drugs encapsulates their new found direction thanks largely to the production team's guiding hand but it's really on the pumping guitar-dance fusion of The Spike And The Left Side where The Music's huge slabs of six-string wig out coalesce with the mammoth beats beneath them.
Wisely, the band have reined in their more meandering tendencies. Here they offer concise blasts of bass-heavy grooves and widescreen fret worrying, while Robert Harvey's nasal call-to-arms remains firmly and reassuringly in place. Having conquered their own internal battles, the remaining challenge is how The Music will now set about re-establishing themselves after such a lengthy absence. They may be taking the long road, but with Strength In Numbers they've started walking it.