This, the second album from female-fronted Norfolk four piece The Neutrinos, was apparently recorded in a windmill and is released, like the first, on Wet Nurse Records.
Listening to this album can, in some places, make a reviewer feel as if they are writing a checklist of musical influences, then ticking them off one by one. Karen Reilly’s vocal brings to mind a whole series of feisty women from Patti Smith through PJ Harvey to Justine Frichmann and Karen O. Musically you can hear strong echoes of everything from 50s rock ‘n’ roll (the chugging guitar sound on Eat My Hole), through The Smiths, to a Libertines-esque shambolic swagger. “Influence” morphs into straightforward “tribute” on Donkeywork, which basically is The Beach Boys’ Fun Fun Fun, if Brian Wilson had been in a British art-punk band in the 21st century.
Unfortunately the album – on the whole – adds up to somewhat less than the sum of these influences. It’s difficult to pinpoint quite where and why it disappoints. Individual tracks like the aforementioned Donkeywork, One Way Kiss (the most catchy song) and Girlfriend’s Got A Gun are nicely aggressive and spiky, but somehow, when taken altogether, quite quickly pall. This could be partly down to the band’s way with lyrics. Despite some neat wordplay (“My mother’s mother tongue”, “pushing up the daisies in the topsoil of the badlands”), most songs have an annoying tendency to take one key line or phrase and repeat it to death. Examples of this can be found on nearly every song: Kiss Like Killers (“kiss like killers”), Girlfriend’s Got A Gun (“she’s got a gun”), Build Until He Breaks, He Breaks (yes, you’ve probably worked it out by now). This really just leaves you with the impression that the songs have ended up just petering out – the band uncertain as to how to finish. We’re not talking prog rock here: keeping these tracks short and to the point would definitely work with, and not against, their sound.
A noticeable change of pace and sound comes with Horsepills, showcasing a surprisingly sweet, delicate and melodious vocal from Reilly. The acoustic Corpse, towards the album’s end, is similar, and both tracks are in marked contrast to the more abrasive kick-ass voice and attitude on display elsewhere (“eat my hole, motherfucker!”). Overall this album, although undoubtedly featuring moments of appeal and interest (and a couple of great potential singles), reminded me, more than anything else, of a potentially great novel that had been let down by insufficiently firm editing.