Herbert - 100 Lbs
Sam Floy 29/10/2006
Back again with 100lbs, the charismatic Herbert has brought out a re-release of his album exactly 10 years on from the original and he is attempting to relight the flickering flame of his fortunes for a second time. Accompanied with the main CD is a bonus disc that contains eight extra songs - a mixture of B sides and new material however that also fails to succeed in igniting the ashes of 100lbs.
The two discs, collectively, start well and end well, however what is in between - nearly an hour and half - is quite frankly dire. As I said, the first three tracks are good, they bounce along quite happily building up for a few minutes with a few quirky bleeps and twangs thrown in to add to the experimental effect that is given. However, from “oo licky” onwards it is a real disappointment. Lacklustre and spineless, Herbert's songs seem to repeat themselves, except for a few subtle tweaks from the random noises department. “Friday They Dance” is one of my favourite tracks, not because it has any special or impressive style of playing, but because the only vocals in the piece are of someone stating the blindingly obvious - 'Turn the record over and let's disco'. I couldn't believe it. Was this a joke that backfired, because it is the best piece of advice you could get from this album. If you want a dance, to move with some energy and rhythm then take the instruction of the only lyrics because you will certainly have an absolutely shocking disco if you have this playing - I have heard monotone ringtones better than this disappointing drivel.
One thing I cannot fault is the use of bizarre, experimental noises he incorporates, In “Pen” for example I counted a whole host of intriguing sounds; lighting a zippo lighter, slurping the remains from a drinks cup, a bowling ball hitting the pins, tearing your trousers in an awkward place and in “take me back” it sounded like a snooker player cueing off. You would have thought these sounds would be more likely to appear at some point during a stag night but instead they seem to have stumbled into this CD, not in the background but as the vital 'heartbeat' of the tracks.
If you are able to finish disc 1, then well done but it has a hard decision whether to put on the 'bonus' disc because at the moment you feel a little short changed and if the first was a collection of singles and this of B sides then what hope is there. But, I said to myself remember Oasis - Acquiesce and then popped disc 2 in the player. Anyway after the previous 73:01 surely it can only get better. What this? Track 2 is described as a 'housey housey version' - worth a listen surely.
However, only after a lengthy 5:32 are you at last blessed with the accumulated 'housey housey' part of the track. The strayed random noises still there but finally brought together and you are given half a minute of what the title foretold. It is in occasions like this that I might put “But it was all worth it in the end” however it cannot be said for this as the short melody wasn't even that impressive.
“I Hadn't Known” is a more jazzy and chilled out tune at the end of the disillusioned run of successive dance tracks which used big beats and who seemed to pick out novelty sounds. Instead track 6 on the bonus CD took a step back from the disenchanting dance effect it was attempting to give and this time used the relaxed instruments that perfectly made you feel the same - “I'll do it” created the same aura. It could quite easily of been spoilt with a high energy backing and a whoopee cushion remix, but luckily there wasn't.
The CD ends with a piano and backing singers in a tropical rainforest. The constant buzz in the background lets the piano run free and the gentle, soft voices of the choir mean you feel soporific and more lenient towards the unfavourable tracks that took up the bulk of the two piece CD.
The first three of the original CD meant for an optimistic outlook on the final hour or so of songs but all you're met with is song after song of progressive, predictable beats and at six minutes long for each track you are left feeling empty, betrayed and unable to get to grips that such boredom can come from, apparently, dance music.