Heroes & Villains : Air Sea Rescue

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/heroesvillains.jpg" alt=" " />One of the most enduring stories about this decade’s indie rock has been that it contains a lot of theft from the New Wave of...
6.4 Unsigned

 One of the most enduring stories about this decade’s indie rock has been that it contains a lot of theft from the New Wave of the eighties, and nowhere has this charge been invoked more than with Interpol.   On first listen, choppy guitars and artsy-but-bass-heavy music of Heroes & Villains, combined with the low tones of singer Raphael Parent, sound a whole lot like Interpol, one of the biggest indie hits of this decade.  On second listen, Heroes & Villains still sound a whole lot like Interpol, just not as good.

Interpol’s dark, driving, and catchy songs, with Paul Banks’ baritone, have pointed to their obvious influences from the early eighties, such as Joy Division and The Smiths.  Instead of denying their heritage, Interpol embraced and built upon what had been, up until then, a largely underappreciated sound, and that propelled the Lower East Side band to the top ranks of the Big Apple’s indie boom.  In turn, Heroes & Villains and other of today’s bands have made Interpol itself their own influence (deciding not to wait twenty years before doing so).  Some bands have done as Interpol did, developing upon their influence to create their own sound, such as The Editors, while others have somehow managed to use Interpol to make something definitely less than the sum of its parts, such as She Wants Revenge.

Then there’s Montreal’s Heroes & Villains, who’ve created, well… something that sounds like Interpol.  Air Sea Rescue occasionally mixes in a little more pop, and sometimes throws back not to Interpol, but to the post-punk acts that inspired Interpol, but overall it’s just a pale twin: not bad, but hardly remarkable.  Some higher-quality tracks do stand out, such as the more melodic "The Phantom Ones," ‘Kidnapper,’ and "Air Sea Rescue."  But there are other tracks that stand out because they’re weaker, and even more derivative, such as "Stella Maris," "Drink," and "Silent Discotheque," and their biggest departure is their worst song, the soft "Gene Clark"; singer Raphael Parent’s deep voice doesn’t fit all, and Air Sea Rescue’s final track ends up as something like a boring medieval ode.

Heroes & Villains is a retread of a band that been retread many times by many people in its few years, and is a retread that truly treads little new ground.  They’re just kids at this point, but someone should have told Heroes & Villains this wasn’t enough before they released this, their debut album. Air Sea Rescue does show flashes of pop promise, and some of the retreads are still nice songs, but Heroes & Villains have got a long way to go, and Coast Guard choppers are not on their way.

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