The Immediate may be the first four-person band to claim that they have “four vocalists, three drummers, three guitarists, and three bassists.” These four multi-talented art school kids are making their name as a headliner on the 2FM 2moro 2our, for the top music radio station in Ireland, RTE2. With a producer who’s worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Cypress Hill, The Immediate’s debut album, In Towers & Clouds, should be what shoots this Dublin band into today’s international indie rock jet stream. However, the band, the album, and even the songs each prove to be less than the sum of their parts. The Immediate can deliver a variety of sounds, from a melodic anthem to the jam band rock of the modern-day hippie, but not all are gems, and many mix together like oil and water – or Bob Dylan and Cypress Hill…
While Christopher Shaw has been an engineer on such well-regarded records as Wilco’s A Ghost is Born and Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, his work as a producer is far more limited. In Towers & Clouds is hardly a poorly engineered record (far from it), but it reads like it was directed by someone who’d put Jeff Tweedy and Chuck D together. Too many of its songs are ill-fitting mash-ups of divergent styles, and many of the rest are just too one-dimensional.
The pros and cons to the multiple sounds on this album can best be found on their previously released single, together with the two tracks off their early EP, Make Our Devils Flow. The Immediate are at their finest on their single "Stop and Remember," mixing up a love song, an anthem, a declaration, a jam band hit and more, with some simply great notes thrown in to boot. "Don’t You Ever" has the exclamatory paranoia of The Talking Heads, along with a solid indie beat and a strong group chorus, but the three parts do not fit together well. "A Ghost In This House" takes a good funk-folk pick-beat, but then throws on pedestrian vocals and some not-fitting-at-all ‘guitar god’-style hanging chords.
The first two tracks of In Towers & Clouds are thoroughly unexceptional indie rock, which play like a blatantly attempt to ape The Strokes’ debut recordings (i.e., they could fit on the second & third Strokes records). Similar sounds work far better on the following "Fashion Ar Faith," but the jarring stop-start group parts really take away from what would otherwise be a superb song.
There’s a lot to like on In Towers & Clouds – even the less impressive parts are nice enough, and could work well if taken further. But instead those and the superior sounds are just strewn through this album, sometimes standing alone on songs that may or may not be able to stand alone, other times bunched together on a track with inconsistent amounts of chemistry. Here’s hoping The Immediate can sort all this out, some day soon.