In principal there is nothing wrong with Drown You Heart Again, the debut full-length album from Portsmouth quintet The Strange Death Of Liberal England. Aided by famed New Order and Depeche Mode producer Dave Allen, the oddly named collection (their name is derived from the 1935 George Dangerfield book of the same name), the group Uncut declared “God’s own orchestra”, sound just like every other band who is hailed as the new indie hero. Drown Your Heart Again, while perfectly listenable, is totally uninspired and genially generic.
To say you have heard it all before would be an understatement. Hailed by a lot of the indie press as a new flavour, they could easily fall in line with everyone from The Editors through to Arcade Fire, with both Depeche Mode and New Order thrown in for good measure. What they lack is any distinct characteristics. Fair enough any genre that has crossed-over to pop will be laden with copycats, but those that go the distance have their own character. The Futureheads may only know how to pump out stomper anthems, but at least they can be contained.
The Muse-esque “Yellow Flowers” may just lift The Strange Death Of Liberal England from indie-royalty wannabes to potential brooding balladeers.
On first listen, Drown Your Heart Again survived just three tracks before being replaced. But on a second and third listened, I persisted yet still remained unenlightened as to what the fuss is all about. Sure “Come On Young Philosophers!” may be musically backed to create a feel of euphoric singalong yet clumsy lyrics make any attempts ill-fated.
However, as the ten track album draws to a close, a little bit of Matt Bellamy crawls in and saves the day. The Muse-esque “Yellow Flowers” may just lift The Strange Death Of Liberal England from indie-royalty wannabes to potential brooding balladeers. The tender delivery and subtle accompaniment shine a new light upon the quintet. Perhaps with a change of direction the Portsmouth five may just have their time to shine. But till then, Drown Your Heart Again proves purely disappointing.