Tubelord // Romance // October 10 // Pink Mist
Tubelord, the indie Sugababes judging by their constant member changes, were always an unaccomplished bunch. Delivering a batch of magnificent demos in 2008 they never really capitalised on their strength and their debut album Our First American Friends was merely a collection of incoherent jumpstart rhythms, geeky lyrics and, most of all, songs that lacked the spirit and passion of their pre-album material. Since then they released an eyebrow raising EP which meddled with synths to no particular effect and now they follow up on that release with a new album devoid of anything that made them good in the first place.
Romance is certainly a new chapter for this band. No longer could they be qualified as prime example of math pop, the new songs don’t even fall under their own invented tag umbrella of “pop songs for rock kids”. If Tubelord’s debut was wildly successful then Romance would be considered the prime example of a difficult second album. The so called maturity is nothing but toning down the things that made their music worthwhile in the first place, and yet, they sound even more childish with stupid keyboards all over the place. One of the worst things ever is a rock band discovering keyboards and playing some amateurish shit on it thinking they’re clever. Well fuck right off, unless you’re James Spence, get off the fucking synths!
The tightness that was once associated with Tubelord is gone, the sort of ridiculous singalongs and live cheers that show their ugly grins on this album remind me of the loose attitude of There Is A Way by Dananananaykroyd, an album that, despite having some moments of bliss, has killed the rather magnificent band. The synthpop sound of this record manages to ruin any attempts at good songwriting, Over In Brooklyn for example, one can imagine how good it could’ve been in the context of the early demos, on Romance it’s oversatiated with unnecessary elements of production that never belonged to this band in the first place. The less is said about tracks like Never Washboard and 4T3 with their lack of any compelling guitar work, the better. There’s some noisier stuff on Go Old and Ignatz, separated by the candy floss of My First Castle, but it’s all in vain. What kind of band says “our new record will a distilled and tame version of what we did before”? Might as well just say that they’re bored of their music and call it a fucking day.
Watching Tubelord evolve is like watching your favourite cat die, you we’re with them since the birth and they were your obsession but as they grow old and become senile, all the intrigue is gone, this cat will never be interesting again and you’ll find yourself kicking it out of the kitchen. The feeling I’m getting here is that Tubelord are cats on their last life. Ever since the early days people, including me, rooted for them, wished them to deliver a classic but now thanks to Romance that is as likely as Toby Hayes coming up with an electro pop album. The best thing to do now is to split up and stop ruining whatever little legacy they have left, do it boys, do it for everyone.