Blakfish, the latest in a long line of bands to take the art of butchering a song title to gargantuan extremes, properly introduce themselves to the world with Champions, their follow up to the promising, and well-received See You In Another City EP.
With the laborious track titles, Blakfish already put themselves in danger of alienating the kind of reserved, self-loathing music ‘lovers’ that fawn over the various little delights of the current British music scene. But the true challenge they set themselves is taking what was good on an EP and finding ways to build on that promise, as opposed to stretching a thin veil of musical talent over a much longer period of time.
Champions is a jangled affair, full of scatterbrain guitar riffs that sound as if they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. ‘Economics’ is a ragtag group of anti-establishment youths trying to come to terms with why anyone would want to be a banker, injected with tongue in cheek piss-taking of the system that raises more than a few smirks of agreement. Elsewhere, it’s a surprise that there aren’t any references to clunge really, as Blakfish are a stone’s throw away from the characters in Inbetweeners.
The vibe on Champions is immediately comparable to the now deceased Reuben. There is that same sarcastic, caustic wit in the double-pronged vocal attack of Sam Manville and Thomas Peckett and very little seems to be safe from their cruel remarks. Bankers, high street lookalikes (‘Your Hair’s Straight But Your Boyfriend Ain’t’) and even Lost get an absolutely vociferous ripping into.
Champions is a coherent enough album, where the roadmap is laid down early and the band merrily stick to it throughout all its meandering passages. However, over 40 minutes is a rather long drive in this particular vehicle, with the album growing steadily more and more tedious as tracks begin to blend into one and another. There are a few breathless twists and turns that fight to keep things interesting, such as the frenetic bassline of ‘The Closer To The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat’ and the plaintive nature of ‘I’m Laughing Now… But It’s No Joke’ but by then the joke has well and truly begun to drag. Consider this another dot on the map of UK bands that are still struggling to find that certain special something to make them true champions.
Originally published on Sonic Dice.