Before the Internet existed many like-minded music lovers out there relied on gigs, magazines, fanzines, word-of-mouth and the mighty John Peel for more information about new or breaking bands. But it seems that within today’s self-facilitating media environment, getting one step ahead in promoting your own music via social networking sites and/or your own little place on the web, a band should aim for either a distinguishable name or even just a blatant google-whack. This London based four-piece would be the first to admit that having their name synonymous with photo copying technology doesn’t really help prospective fans who go on a web hunt for them.
Despite being based in England, Scanners have had more success elsewhere – such as there place at SXSW 2008, but they seem content in admitting they are “doing ok” over here. And it isn’t surprising that Submarine was released upon the American market around this time last year, which does knock the wind out of the sails for any hear-it-first scoop. Not that I really mind; the more people that get to hear this the better.
This album is reminiscent of their intimate local gig a good few years ago. Scanners had my complete attention throughout their set and I was transfixed on just how melodic they sounded compared to the other “art-noise” bands on the night.
Indeed, melody is what this band excels at. Submarine is awash with glorious hooks and emotive crescendos, with each instrument suitably put through its paces to create a spatial and rich layered tracks. The predominantly more up-tempo 80s-thinking-00s-Brit indie sound on tracks such as ‘A Girl Like You’ and ‘‘Goodbye’ stand out amongst the slower, enchanting versus of tracks such as ‘Jesus Saves’, ‘Baby Blue’, ‘Salvation’, and ‘Sleepwalking Life’. On these occasions there is a bluesy element, but also a real 60s influence from folk to psychedelia, from Bob Dylan to The Beatles.
The album’s lyrical content mixes emotions from the downright macabre to more positive personal issues. There are also acoustic moments and vocals reminiscent of Stories From The City-era PJ Harvey, but essentially the band put this eclectic mix of sounds together and create something to truly call their own.