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You Can't Hide from the Computers

The Computers

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Album Review

It's not a surprise that U.K. act the Computers ended up getting produced by John Reis on their 2011 album; if Jack White ended up with more of the fame, the Swami record boss has carved out his own place when it comes to playing, producing, and releasing thrashy and engagingly trashy rock & roll. So it's little further surprise that This Is the Computers sounds good enough on the one hand, but on the other, it's a bit of an on-off effort by the band, initially an example of sudden moments almost working more than the songs. Clocking in at 11 songs in 25 minutes, it's certainly an admirable example of brevity in action, and whether you want to talk the Ramones, Wire, the Minutemen, or someone else, it's not like that approach hasn't served well before. Thus, when the backing vocals kick in on "Blood Is Thicker," it's welcoming by contrast, especially since the basic template tends to wear itself out a bit. Everything from the hints of math rock on "Cinco de Mayo" to the fake ending on "Where Do I Fit In?" is a treat, but all these moments surround a core that, while agreeably loud and revved-up, just doesn't have a compelling edge of collapsing mania to it, feeling pro forma when it could have summoned up the spirits. It's notable that the first time the band sounds fully engaged is on "Rhythm Revue," also the first open bit of retro/rockabilly kick on the album. It's almost as if the arrangement had to be fun for the band to have fun in turn, and from that point forward, things feel a bit looser and more engaging on songs like "Group Identity" and "I've Got What It Takes." So whether it's the sequencing or trusting certain instincts is unclear, but possibly their next album will allow for a more balanced listen.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A part of Exeter, England's punk scene, the Computers feature singer/guitarist Alex Kershaw, guitarist Sonny Crawford, bassist Nic Heron, and drummer Will Wright. Looking for a way to stand out, the band fused hardcore punk with garage rock and blues. Soon after forming, the band caught the ears of Radio 1 Punk Show host Mike Davies, who played their debut single and invited them to play a live session on the show. The Computers signed to Fierce Panda, which released their debut mini-album You Can't...
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You Can't Hide from the Computers, The Computers
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