‘Postcards From The Back of Beyond’ is the debut album from South Yorkshire’s New Messiahs, produced by Alan Smyth (of 2Fly studios in Sheffield), the producer behind Arctic Monkeys’ debut album and the man to whom a great many local bands turn for recording almost without thinking. I feel it’s my duty to inform local indie bands that there are plenty of equally experienced and gifted producers available in and around the region…
Describing themselves as ‘enthusiastically unfashionable’, New Messiahs confirm the claim within a few bars of the opener ‘Famous Last Words’; the unequivocally 90s Manic Street Preachers (with some Mick Ronson stirred in) guitar sound isn’t going to win over the Topman/Topshop adorned NME/T4 disciples, but it seems very chuffed about that fact. Elsewhere, it sounds like singer Paul Mainon served his apprenticeship in much heavier bands than New Messiahs (and possibly a stint in Clubland), so much so that during the more testicle-worrying vocal lines he sounds a little like Bruce Dickinson. Now, hats off to any man who can pull that off, but I’m not sure if it slots in with either the style of song or the sound of the band in general. Either way, New Messiahs are clearly very accomplished musicians and the production is spot on.
However, by track four and continuing almost until the end of the album (‘Better Way to Die’ offers some variety, but it appears nine tracks in…), the repetition starts to peer through. Despite some pearls of arranging and production (the brass parts on ‘Nobody Wants Me’ are glorious), the style and mood of the album spans little range. This is a shame as again, New Messiahs seem to know exactly what they’re doing.
As a whole, ‘Postcards From The Back of Beyond’ has very clearly been written and executed by some top-drawer players, but the overall sound is of a band who’ve gone from playing Whitesnake/Kiss/Rainbow/Iron Maiden covers to writing jaunty 90s indie numbers a la Oasis and Suede in a very brief period. Everything’s in the right place – session level playing, flawless harmonies, gorgeous brass arrangements, balls-out guitar – but the whole sounds somewhat synthetic and limited. With a bigger range of ideas, the second album could be excellent – fingers crossed…
Written by Emanuel Shadrack
You can find out more about New Messiahs by visiting the following links:
New Messiahs play the following dates:
19th October @ South Sea Live, Sheffield
26th October @ Royal Standard, Sheffield
29th November @ Penelopes, Sheffield
Click here for the review of the New Messiahs EP.