Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Envy & Other Sins - Highness

Thank god for Channel 4. Because, you know, I really felt the gap in the market for a fly-on-the-wall, reality-TV, celebrity-manufacturing battle of the bands. With commercial indie about as independent as a wheelchair-bound blind-man, it was only a matter of time before someone employed Radio 1 ‘legend’ Jo Whiley to whittle out the bad from the good and get under the skin of struggling-band culture in a consumer-driven hunt for musical celebrity.

Envy and Other Sins, the resulting winners of Channel 4’s Mobile Act Unsigned, fulfil all possible expectations with this, their first single, Highness. Polished to the point of slippery, these boys haven’t missed a trick. Clean guitar layers thunk and twang over a relentless bass, whilst organ and piano suspensions fill out monotonous musicality with sweet, hot air. An unwinding drum roll bridge brings to mind a jack-in-the-box filled with skinny-jean-clad fourteen-year-olds that spring out back into the chorus to hop around, until the end. It’s pretty spurious stuff, in the same vein as The Feeling, but as far as manufactured indie-pop goes, this is as formulaically perfect as it gets.

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