Miss Black America

Bill Cummings 09/05/2005

You gotta feel for Seymour Glass, the front man of Miss Black America. A few years ago with a debut album on the way, on the edge of infamy and with the world of indie-dom so nearly at his feet (well "Talk Hard" being played on John Peel), his band imploded. Why? Well apparently he's "mad" and so was his guitarist Gish, so they couldn't co exist in a band together anymore. Spending a few years getting his head together (drink problems were rumoured) Seymour reformed Miss Black America with a new line up in tow. Now with the release of their second album "Terminal" (out on REPEAT) on its way they are back on tour.

Despite their problems, Seymour was always an engaging watch, from his pleading nasal vocals to his mess of black hair, eyeliner and speccy glasses, now he is flanked by real rock bite in the shape of new guitarist Mat Anthony. Seymour is at his best when he pulls at your melancholic heart strings the way he does on "Drowning for numbers" with its self abusive lyrics: Or when he's throwing himself half naked around the stage and into the pit on punky numbers like "Miss Black America" or new single "Dot Dot Dot" there's a kind of devotion that he generates in these small moments between crowd and singer that cant be glossed over: these moments are real.

However too many of the new songs pass me by, lost in a haze of booze and darkness, plus MBA may have beefed up their sound, but have they really moved on? It seems not. This is indie punk with a heart its just if you don't like the heart on offer you wont like MBA. And as much as I like Seymour the feeling that they "missed the boat" and that there are better bands around ploughing this kind of musical furrow: cant help but linger around the 30 people that stand in front of the stage. I wonder if they will always be destined for small venues and small moments? Maybe they don't care.