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The Nearly Men- Bedhead (Audioscribbler)

The Nearly Men: Bedhead

August 14, 2008 by Simon Catling (Edit)

It takes a pair to cover a Smiths song; only a select few have really ever managed to pull it off, and The Nearly Men are probably well aware of this. But we’ll get to that in a minute. The opening, title track, of this EP is a jaunty jangle fest of acoustic guitars, organs and 60s beat percussion; sounding pretty promising no? At a snug fitting two minutes and seventeen as well it seems an excellently crafted opening track; that is if you discount the horribly yowling vocals of lead singer Paul Ashley Drake, who sadly doesn’t see the need to remove the frog from his throat throughout the entire four track EP. This will come back to haunt him.

Despite its title, ‘Melancholy’ is in fact only marginally less chipper than ‘Bedhead’; there’s a certain ramshackle quality to it in contrast to the opener that warms the cockles and the subtle added nuance of piano is a welcome touch. Once again though Drake’s vocals make it nigh on impossible to decipher what he’s on about and you just want someone to take him home, give him a lemsip and pack him off to bed in the hope that he can get over this seemingly incurable touch of manflu. Sadly this is the lasting impression that will remain from ‘Bedhead’; all three original compositions fit together with a breezy joy de’vivre and yet all are almost entirely undone by poor singing; and when it comes to THAT Smiths cover (‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’), sadly all five of the group only have themselves to blame; sound levels are all wrong, the now painstaking vocals threaten to drown out everything else, so to combat this everything else is turned up loud as well and what is an attempt at a skiffle-pop cover of an enduring classic ends up sounding like a bit of a painful dirge (If you want to hear a good cover of this check out David Ford’s wonderfully poignant version.)

It’s a shame really that such an obvious weakness has been allowed to fester and get in the way of what could really be quite a delightful five piece; but then the other four probably can’t hear what they sound like anyway.

Date Released: Out Now
Label: None

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