Stephen Morris reviews Gloucester band The Red Moccasins
- 10 August 2012
- From the section Gloucestershire
"Stop wasting my time on yourself", "Why can't you do what I need you to do?"', "I can take you or leave you, baby".
Honestly. Some people: it's just me, me, me.
If there is a theme to be found in The Red Moccasins' songs, it is something of a self-absorbed one.
From the egotistical preparations for a night on the pull in 'The Game' through to the self-indulgence of needing and finding "a place to wallow" (on the appropriately named 'Wallow'), there is a great deal of thought devoted to number one.
Tellingly, by the time we reach 'Wallow', our self-centred guide is confessing he's "losing all my friends".
I wonder why that might be.
The Red Moccasins present a standard unsigned sound, predominantly inspired by the tried, tested, done, dusted, been there, done that, got all the T-shirts blend of The Libertines and The Arctic Monkeys.
To add a spot of variation, there are also hints of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and, increasingly with every listen, a large dollop of The Doors.
Self-absorption is, of course, no bad thing in rock and roll.
Ego-mania has fuelled many a chart classic from The Rolling Stones to Eminem.
But it does help if the ego matches the talent - or at least the stage presence.
For years we forgave Liam Gallagher and his swaggering, self-appointed rock-god role because - hey, he was the lead singer of Oasis and he sang 'Roll With It' and 'Wonderwall'.
With The Red Moccasins though, the balance between ego, talent and attitude is not so finely balanced.
We're left with a series of swaggering, bold statements based on very little substance.
'Not fitting in'
There is little in the way of variation in the band's two latest offerings: 'Frank' and 'The Chaperone' from 'An EP Called Frank'.
'Frank' itself follows the wallowing feel of 'Wallow'.
Over a light reggae sound, we get a self-pitying tale about not fitting in: of not being about to "tell foe or friend".
The answer, rather obviously, is to go to the moon on his own and leave the rest of mankind behind. That'll teach 'em.
'The Chaperone', meanwhile, does change tack somewhat with a misogynist tale of a friend being seduced by a girl whose "blonde hair is getting in his eye".
But as the song progresses, we find our hero's problem is less with his friend losing his virtue to some loose woman, and more that our narrator will be "on my own".
And so, we're back to square one with the theme of looking out for number one. Again.
The music is entirely passable (in all senses of the word).
It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination.
Then again, a collection of songs formed from the off cuts of Arctic Monkeys and Libertines songs wouldn't necessarily sound bad anyway: it's why so many bands ape the sound.
But neither is it particularly great.
And when you're positioning yourself on your own pedestal with lines like "so many people staring at me/are they jealous?" you really do need to have something worth singing about.