‘You either go the mainstream route, or the sleazy south London route’, says FEET singer George of doing things in a modern indie style, ‘and we’re slap bang in the middle’.
The quintet have been based in the capital for a while themselves now, making good use creatively of what they refer to as their hive mind, a single consciousness developed after years of living together.
It’s a choice of direction that’s not always been theirs to own. They’re not the first outfit to provide a warning to other up-and-coming bands about trying too hard to please, but after being picked up early on by a high-profile management company they then found themselves thrown straight into recording their debut album What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham, with predictably mixed results.
Now happily divorced, rather than sulk they resolved by necessity to learn more about producing themselves, and Walking Machine’s four songs are a cross-section of the less refined but still melodic middle ground they’ve settled on.
Opener Peace And Quiet doesn’t so much set out this manifesto as spray it on the bog wall, George spitting out, ‘Squeaky clean indie boys corporate ass kissing/closing down venues ‘cos the hippies ain’t listening’, as they keep the guitar swagger of before but get a bit more up in your face.
Never lyrically straightforward – that album talked about burglars, old age pensioners and accidentally drinking fuel additives – here Library deals with that not forgotten link in the pre-Internet information dual carriageway age, whilst Busy Waiting is raucous, impatient 21st century pub rock and the scratchy Libertines-on-a-tight-budget of Arena rounds out the cautionary tales with some night bus blues.
Walking Machine is as much about not being afraid to grasp a second chance as not being haunted by the experience of the first.
FEET sound better for being in control, and even if the smiles are a little tighter this time round, success or whatever else happens on your own terms is always better than failure on someone else’s.