The Redwalls - De Nova
Sam Wetherell 04/07/2005
“Hey! Hey! Hey! Oh! Oh! Darlin' Darlin' Hey!” Strumity strum guitar. Jazz hands. And exit with a bow.
See, I can write a Redwalls song too. Can I tour with Oasis now please?
Someone has evidently invested a lot of time and money in the success of this band. The cover art seems painstakingly crafted to look faded and dusty, the album arrived through the post with a novella-sized booklet brimming with rock and roll cliché images extreme enough to make Jack Black squirm uncomfortably.
Every atom of De Nova, is locked in some vague nostalgic past that probably never existed, and if it did, happened a long time before they were born. The song titles - “Thank You”, “Love Her”, “It's Alright” have “WE ARE INFLUENED BY THE BEATLES” written all over them in red marker pen. The songs, with their repetitive soulless choruses, and clean-cut production line guitar riffs are so fearsomely contrived and backward looking they make Oasis sound like Le Tigre. If you shook the album hard enough all of its glaringly obvious influences, and empty words would end up on a gibbering heap on the carpet.
I began to feel a bit sorry for them upon reaching “Front Page” (I imagine not many people have made it as far as track nine). It opens with a news report about violence in Israel, then descends into some rather terrible rhyming couplets, and a handful of painfully uncreative guitar solos. They sound so amusingly similar to the band my friends and me set up when we were 12 years old and listened to nothing but Oasis (we split up due to creative differences) that I can't help being touched at this point.
The lyrics are desperately confused. Falling Down (and wouldn't be great if they had covered the Muse song?) begins as a disastrous attempt at being gritty, with consonants painfully and deliberately dropped - “what's this shit goin' down 'bout the FCC/gone to war against obscenity”, then moves, for the chorus, to meaningless sentimental drivel - “darlin' we've been and I'm falling down/don't you wanna know oh oh oh”. We've been what? Falling down where? Don't I wanna know what? This isn't clever ambiguity, this is just very very bad song writing. Here comes another example, which speaks for itself. It is copied and pasted directly from a lyrics website:
“Yeah, build a bridge and bring both sides together
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Suddenly all the Bob Dylan comparisons just turn to ash in the mouth don't they?
This is music for people who don't like or understand music, or who find it threatening and confusing. Their plundering of the name of one of the greatest children's fiction novels of the last fifty years adds insult to injury. It is quite simply awful.