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The year 2006 saw Coventry based 3 piece The Enemy burst onto the popular Indie music scene and in 2007 saw the release of straight to number one album "We'll live and die in these towns". Two singles on this album "away from here" and "had enough" broke into the UK charts, charting at number 8 and 4 respectively and have had a few more songs from this album in the UK top 40 aswell. If you havnt heard of The Enemy then you are missing out on one of the best new bands to come along in the past 5 years, the reason i think they are one of the best new bands is that they have songs that you can sing and dance along to. The music is perfect for when your a bit down or even when your happy and caters to all ages. This band are going to be around for a while and this is the one album you should get, it has great tunes, great guitar playing and is just a very good album overall.
This album came out in 2007 and was the bands debut. I bought this album by The Enemy on the strength of a few of their singles. Wasn't really sure how much would enjoy the album, the singles were good but the band seemed a little one dimensional. So how is the album, well here is what I think of the songs:
1. Aggro - Not a great song. The chorus is quite catchy but other than that there is not much to rave about on this song. 6/10
2. Away From Here - Excellent song. Lyrics that show the bands frustration at normal working life, and tell of how they want to escape from the rat race. At good breat a melody, cracking song. 9/10
3. Pressure - Another average song. Again there is nothing really wrong with it but not really anything right either. 6/10
4. Had Enough - Another big hit from the band. Good strong lyrics and a nice sound. Not quite as good as the other songs they released but still worth a listen. 8/10
5. We'll Live And Die In These Towns - Title track from the album. Shows a different side to the band, is much more chilled out and has a nice sound to it. Some good lyrics that make me smile, a good little song. 8/10
6. You're Not Alone - Best song on the album for me. Great drive to this one. Feels like a really big anthem. A great beat that kicks in and then the vocals kick in and sound awesome. A really catchy chorus that sticks in your head. I love this song. 10/10
7. It's Not Ok - Another decent offering, some strong lyrics and fast pace make this a real foot-tapper. 8/10
8. Technodanceaphobic - Another upbeat song, but again this one is just missing some of the magic of the big songs. 7/10
9. 40 Days And 40 Nights - Sounds very similar to the last one. Not a very good song. 6/10
10. This Song - Another good song. Slightly slower with a really good feel to it. Some excellent lyrics again make this a tasty little number. 9/10
11. Happy Birthday Jane - So how do they round the album off? Not well. It's a slower one that really lacks anything good. Just not a good way to close the album really, its not a bad song again, but its just not good enough. 7/10
So overall there are some excellent tracks on this album. But there are also alot of what I would call average songs that don't inspire you in any way. So not a bad album, but not worth paying full whack for. Look in the bargain section for this one.
Will give it a 7/10
They where exactly what was needed, amid the cheesy indie music of Scouting for Girls, The Hoosiers, The Pigeon Detectives we needed someone to come along and give it all a quick up the backside.
The Enemy where this, gritty, determined, loud and abrasive.
We live and die in these towns went straight to number 1 on its opening week (July 2007), it sold around 300,000 in it's first year.
Heres the low-down.
Aggro; A good opener. They have went down the route of having a loud song to open the album which many a indie rock band do. There is a cracking chorus in this song..."ahhhh said my streets on fire", very sing along mode of singing(if you get me). Its a solid opener, with a nice we instrumental sol three quarters though, something I always like in a song. 7/10
Away From Here; Outstanding song, with it opening in segment with a line of the song, then pause and this goes on for around 20 seconds then they burst into the chorus and the whole song lifts up. Another sing along chorus. Great song, probably my favourite of the album. 10/10
Pressure; Along the lines of the opener in many ways. This song varies from being heavy and in your face and also has quiet moments. I find this song a bit confusing, you get the feeling there is the makings of 3 song in here somewhere. 6/10
Had Enough; Good song. Nice opening rift with the guitars before the distinctive voice of Tom Clarke bursts in. Very catchy song that you cant help getting in to and again a great little segment in the middle where the song grinds to a near halt before building up and up until it all explodes again! Good song. 8/10
We live and die in these towns; Title track and probably the most popular. Intro for around 30 seconds is all trumpet, this stops and then we get a nice guitar rift, then drums then its all instrumental. The whole intro takes around 1 and a half minutes. Very soft in comparison to what has gone before, a chill out moment on the album. Its a track with a lot of meaning, you can see it many ways, I see it as being broke but just needing optimism to get back on your feet. Superb song. 9/10
Your not alone; A good beat the whole way through this song which you cant help going along to. The chorus is again very mush along a sing along, "your not alone your not, your not alone at all". There is a big Kasabian influence here, well that's how I see it. 8/10
Its not ok; Disappointing song, now well I say this because it again is like a song with 3 or 4 in it. I can never get into it, it takes you all over the place, is it heavy, is it slow and to be honest with you I find Tom's cvocals a bit disappointing here. 6/10
Technodanceaphobic; Very 70's and punk feel to this song. Its a solid song, an album filler that could be great song only for the (again) lack of direction. The ahahahah that goes through this song behind the lead singer's voice is a bit confusing. 7/10
40 Days and 40 nights; Good song, its back to the start again with this song being in your face and abrasive, just the way The Enemy should be. Another good chorus that catches you and makes you listen to this song. 8/10
This Song; Acousticy type tune that the album was crying out for. A cracker, only just shaded as the best of the album. Tom flexes his vocals a lot here, showing us that he dosent just need to shout at us all time. 10/10
Happy birthday Jane; The album unusually ends on a soft note and at that a disappointing note, it is as if this was just thrown in to get the album finished. The album and the song just drift away and you forget that you are listening and well there you have it it's over. 6/10
This is a good solid album opener from a band that show a lot of potential to go far.
The album lacks a bit of direction and you get the feeling that alot of the songs where just put in as fillers to get, but this is an album that was much better than the cheesy dross being served up.
The Enemy really made their mark in 2007. They arrived from nowhere and burst into the music scene with a bang. Their music is guitar driven, charged and ultimately indie.
Who are they:
Coventry based group fronted by mouthy singer Tom Clarke. They are a threepiece.
On this album:
You will be enthralled by the chanty 'Away From Here' which throws caution to the wind and delivers an upfront shouty chorus. Not much melodic about it, but a crowdpleaser at any gig. It could have done with some refining vocally, but it does capture the rawness that the band have lingering in their songs.
'We'll Live And Die In These Towns' is a bleak and gritty track, showing a more sombre side to the band. I found this a highlight and the realism of the track will hit home if you listen hard enough.
For me, the best track is 'You're Not Alone'. This sold the whole album for me. A mammoth indie anthem which just builds and builds until Clarke can do no more except let rip with his vocals. The chorus is anthemic, uplifting and lifeaffirming. It delivers the kind of high you can only get from being on a rollercoaster.
'Technodanceaphobic' fails to live up to the promise of the exciting title and limps in as my least favourite here.
A decent debut for the guys, I know you shouldn't really buy an album just for one track but 'You're Not Alone' is worth the pricetag alone.
The Enemy are an Indie Rock band from Coventry and can be seen to have had it very, very easy. They formed in 2006, and after playing a mere 10 gigs the band sought the help of 'Grand Union Management', the people that had helped Boy Kill Boy to success the previous year. They were soon the opening act at Coventry's Godiva Festival, and shortly after this they became the first signing on Stiff Records for twenty years, a subsidiary label of Warner Records. This album was released through Warner in July 2007, and hit Number 1 in the album charts; a great achievement for the band. They are loved by the NME, hated by XFM's breakfast show presenter Alex Zane due to altercations during a television interview, and although I personally do not like how they shot to success so quickly, I must concede that I really do quite enjoy some of their music.
Over rated; probably, but a decent band nonetheless, The Enemy's 2007 début album 'We'll Live and Die in These Towns' is one that is well worth listening to. Of the eleven tracks present on the album, six have already been released in some shape or form already, and with a seventh due out in March; it would seem that The Enemy may well be on a mission to release every track from their début. Would sure be an interesting one if they did, and I personally would love to see them do it. That said, a couple of the tracks they have not already released aren't exactly the best of tracks so I doubt that they'd do too well if they were released upon the world as singles.
'We'll Live and Die in These Towns' begins quite weakly with the track 'Aggro', one of which I am really not at all a fan of. I just feel that the track never really gets going and is therefore not very interesting at all to listen to. I never like to hear a weak opening to an album, it generally means that the album ahead is going to be rather disappointing, however this is not so with The Enemy. Despite the dodgy opening they then go on to produce quite an impressive display in the rest of the album. They don't wait long to prove their worth as the second track on the album is actually 'Away From Here' which is probably my favourite from this release. It's such a fantastic track and right from the very first time I ever heard it I was a huge fan. The track just captures my imagination entirely and has me hooked from beginning to end as the band blast their way through this superbly catchy ultimate Indie anthem.
'You're Not Alone' is another highlight from the album for me. Although it only reached Number 18 in the charts, I feel that it definitely should have been at least a Top 10. It is a hugely powerful track, one where the vocals really shine through and the driving guitars really make the track stand out to me. The lyrics aren't exactly ground breaking, however they work and somehow possess a great power about them which makes them sound more important than they perhaps are. It is warming and reassuring to hear the band belting out the lyrics of 'You're Not Alone You Know' in a vocal tone so deep that it will rock the very foundations of your existence. The Enemy have a great talent for producing intensely powerful music and 'You're Not Alone' is no exception to this rule.
When a band have released six singles from an album and are soon to push that number up to seven; you'd imagine that with only four remaining tracks to pick from there would be little or nothing of interest remaining. In thinking this however, you'd be completely wrong as 'Technodanceaphobic' for a start is absolutely excellent. It is not a conventionally appealing track; it has quite a slow pace and a rather repetitive musical back beat, however it works and actually sounds absolutely excellent. This is a track that I've played many times over the months and is one that I would wholeheartedly recommend to all. Given that it has not been chosen as a single, maybe I am out on my own in my love for this one, however even still, I somehow doubt it and perhaps the excellence of this one has been carelessly overlooked.
One thing that does strike me when listening to this album is that the last two tracks are really quite disappointing. The album begins badly with 'Aggro' and the closing tracks 'This Song' and 'Happy Birthday Jane' are equally irritating to listen to. They just don't appeal in quite such a way as the rest of the album, and these three tracks alone I feel detract from the overall quality of the 'We'll Live and Die in These Towns' album as a whole. Bad openings and closings are something that I hate to hear when listening to an album, and this one possesses both which really is a great shame. The Enemy are a decent band and had they hidden these three tracks in the middle rather than putting them at the beginning and end of the album then I probably wouldn't have minded so much, but for me these are very important points and can make or break an album for me. Whilst I'd find it very hard to dislike a decent album purely on the basis of a bad opener or closer, I do find it greatly irritating to hear and am disappointed with The Enemy for their decision to use these tracks in the places that they have.
The Enemy make terrific use of their instruments on this release and prove themselves to be really quite proficient performers at their trade. Their brand of Indie Rock is not always successful as at times it can sound a little dull in my opinion, but for the most part the band sound great in doing what they do and should definitely look to continue on with the same formula in the future. Front man and champion guitarist Tom Clarke is in possession of a fantastic voice and his vocals really shine through in this release. His guitar work is also greatly impressive, and with the ever powerful drums, and booming bass lines to back him up; the music of The Enemy is absolutely fantastic and for the most part listening to this album is therefore a joy.
Although this début album from The Enemy contains a few tracks that will probably not impress you as much as others, the album as a whole is really rather excellent and I feel that it is definitely worth checking out. Success came a little too easily for The Enemy as far as I'm concerned, however I shall not be holding that against them as I think that it is great when Rock bands do well for themselves. Whether a band has been together for 5 minutes or 5 years; cracking the mainstream is a great achievement that should not be belittled in any way, shape or form. If you've not yet listened to this début album offering from The Enemy then why not give it a go? There's bound to be at least the odd track or two here that will put a smile on your face, and if you happen to be a fan of the Indie Rock genre then I'm sure that you will find great enjoyment in this release. There are a lot of bad Indie bands out there, but The Enemy are not one of them.
Label: Warner Music Group
Release Date: 9th July 2007
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
One has to wonder exactly when the current crop of big Indie-Rock bands is going to come to an end, or at least fade from public adulation. When you consider this whole 'Garage Rock Revival', as it was described at the time The Strokes kicked it off in 2001, has been going the better half of a decade now, it can only be a matter of time before dance music or rap begins to hog the commercial limelight once again.
Now, as a fan of rock, and having a bit of a sweet tooth for certain indie acts, you may wonder exactly why I sound so eager for this to happen. The answer being I've just endured the Number 1 album from the latest Indie act to steal the crown of 'Next Big Thing', Coventry's The Enemy.
This 3-piece, comprising of singer/guitarist Tom Clarke, bassist Andy Hopkins and drummer Liam Watts, tick all the right boxes for repeating the formula that made The Arctic Monkeys such a success: expensive haircuts, expensive clothing, over-emphasised accents and generally all you need to generate the correct measures of adoration out of NME readers in their teens. You'll note I said the same formula used to create the Arctic Monkeys success and not The Strokes or The Libertines, and that's for a reason. You see, while those bands were undoubtedly examples of style-over-substance, at least they actually had substance. By that I'm not making a pun on Pete Doherty's recreational habits, but instead referring to good music.
That may be a bit harsh, The Enemy may be one of the most shockingly monotonous and unimaginative acts to emerge in recent years (their claim to 'Rock and Roll' fame? They burnt out a portaloo at a festival, Sid Vicious eat your heart out), unlike Alex Turner and his tubby mates that nobody knows the name of, The Enemy do manage to cram in few songs that could actually pass as good songwriting.
The reason I start with the highlights is twofold. Firstly, because they don't hurt my head to think about, and secondly because 2 of the 3 songs I would class as highlights were pre-album singles, which means not every misguided purchase of this album can be put down to the sad majority who purchase albums simply because a magazine says so, but it's highly believable a number of record buyers probably bought We'll Live And Die In These Towns thinking they were going to get more disposable yet not totally un-entertaining Indie Rock fluff.
Away From Here may be arguably the best song on the album. It's not musically brilliant a fairly standard indie rocker, angular guitar, fuzzy bassline and all, and the lyrics...well I'll get back to those in a minute, but it at least has an anthemic, sing-a-long chorus that is more infectious than it really has any right to be. It's very easy to get caught up in singing "away-oh-oh, oh-oh away from here!" before you realise it your head is nodding and your feet are tapping too. I guess what I'm saying is it's a well written indie-pop song. It's not new, it's not groundbreaking but it is undeniably the owner of a rather tasty hook. Sadly it's not perfect though, as it also highlights 2 of the band's biggest flaws.
Both of these apply to all of the band's songs, but it's most depressingly apparent on Away From Here, because it's otherwise a good tune, I'm referring to Clarke's ridiculous over-emphasis on his accent and the band's sub-Ordinary Boys lyrical grounding. By the former, I'm not slating the Coventry accent by any means, and in fact that's part of the problem. Listen to an interview with Clarke, he talks with an accent yes, then listen to him sing, its borderline caricature. He'd rather stay at home with Richard and "JEW-DEH" he roars at the chorus in an almost hilarious fashion. It's just another case of this laughable trend of bands trying to sound 'real' by overdoing their accent. It's in fact been around since the days of The Clash, but really seemed to make a resurgence with the advent of The Futureheads (granted they didn't overdo their accents, they just added a certain character to them).
It's this desire to be 'real' that further slaps the listener in the face when it comes to the band's lyrics. Now, I know the band are trying to portray 'Working Class life', but this is handled in such a spiritless and unimaginative way that you have to wonder if the band just popped early Clash, Jam and Ordinary Boys songs on shuffle on their ipod...no wait sorry, their rock and roll, they would have listened to them on vinyl, and just rearranged the words. The most unintentionally hilarious lyric easily goes to the title track's "the toilet smells of desperation" but even the good songs are penetrated by lyrical weakness. Away From Here may, at first glance, seem like an anthem celebrating those free spirits who want to break free of the system. Only when you actually read the lyrics, it doesn't seem like the band actually object to being part of the system for ideological reasons, their just lazy. And not even in the ironic sense that characterises American punk bands. You're Not Alone, another of the band's few highlights (and needless to say another single) is similar, it has a brilliantly anthemic chorus and preceding build-up, but it's lyrics once again fall short.
Another single, It's Not Ok, fares slightly better lyrically, not that it veers out of this tried and, by track 7, where it falls, convention of lyrics, but it comes off better simply by not having anything too cringe worthy in there.
The rest of the album falls into 2 square categories. The first of which is just pitiful, boring garage nonsense. Mashed chords that don't even sound particularly good and Clarke's terrible lyrics and repugnant delivery of them. Like listening to The Vines at the wrong speed. The worst offender out of this category is album opener Aggro, which tries to craft a similar feel to the good songs, in that it really, really wants to be an anthem...only it kind of falls down by not having an anthemic, catchy chorus. By the album's later songs like 40 Days And 40 Nights, the only thing to distinguish this from an Arctic Monkeys record is the accent the singer is stressing.
The second category is slightly more interesting. 3 songs fall into it, the album's title track, and closing brace This Song and Happy Birthday Jane. These are the slower songs, the 'Stock Ballads' if you will, only the latter is the only one with lyrics that actually hint and breaking the established set the band have. In these songs, when Clarke delivers a vocal performance that's closer to spoken word, breaking into song only at the chorus, it's when it actually hits you he doesn't actually have that terrible a singing voice when he doesn't comically overdo his accent. This isn't to say these are by any means good songs, they fall into all the other traps the aforementioned failures do, it's just they make you realise if the band actually tried to write songs to their strengths as opposed to what is a 'safe' sell to kids with £50 haircuts and skinny jeans they might be able to craft a decent album. On Away From Here and it's ilk, the band prove that while musically unspectacular, they can capably pen a catchy song, and if Clarke actually handled his vocals the same way he does on the slower songs (which, when they hit their chorus' are on par tempo wise with the others) he wouldn't come across as anywhere near as unintentionally laughable. I don't imagine the band will ever be great, but they do perhaps have it in them to raise above the quagmire and at least become a mid-tier indie act, and that's the main reason I give We'll Live And Die In These Towns 2/5 as opposed to 1/5. It is pretty bad, but it does have a few decent songs, and a few glimmers of potential to save it from being totally depressing.
One of the best albums of the year if not the decade from the boys from Coventry. A great Rock n Roll album with beautifully crafted tracks and instrumentals.
From beginning to end this album will keep you interested time and time again, from the popularised Away From Here and Had enough to the relatively unknown 40 days and 40 nights the album is perfection. The use of the instruments and harsh voice of vocalist Tom Clarke is great, the drummer plays his role perfectly especially considering he only looks about 12.
The whole album is based on the bands experiences growing up in Coventry with dead end jobs and their lives going nowhere until they decided to unite under the perfectly chosen "Enemy" band name.
Some of the best tracks:
Away From Here: A great track about how the band wants to get away from there 9 to 5 jobs and away from the hum-drum. "Im so sick, sick and tired of working just to be retired"
Technodanceaphobia: A song following the story of a girl as she struggles through her life and how she goes from a good girl to "banging on the backstreet all night long", ok it sounds better in the song
Definately a band to look out for in the future especially after seeing them at the Manchester academy I can see great things coming from them.
Very good debut album from a promising new Brittish band. Every song on this album offers the listener something different and encompasses the music style of a generation. The album title track, number 5, is one of the best songs ive heard in a some time. The chorus has an uncontrollable "catchyness" to it and displays the creative genius which is shown throughout the album. The previously released songs; "Away From Here" & "Had Enough" show an insight to what this album is about and all other songs on the album are just as good as the released songs.
A masterpiece of a first album and a definate must have for any indie rock or just good music lover
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Away From Here
4 Had Enough
5 We'll Live And Die In These Towns
6 You're Not Alone
7 It's Not OK
9 40 Days And 40 Nights
10 This Song
11 Happy Birthday Jane