The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


The Enemy - we will live and die in these townsReview Snapshot:
The Enemy is an anagram of The Jam.

The Cluas verdict? 3 out of 10

Full Review:
Did you know that The Enemy is an anagram of Paul Weller and The Jam? Nope, neither did I. When I first put on this album I must admit I thought I was going to love it especially when the first lyric I heard was, “Call the police, cos things are getting ugly”. At last a proper rock ‘n roll record, full of bile, anger and big guitars. But then, as I listened and listened again to this debut in my car, something strange started to happen. I began to hum along, but not to the actual songs on the record. Nope, I began to hum along to Jam classics such as ‘That’s Entertainment’, ‘Going Underground’ and ‘Town Called Malice’.

Something funny has happened in modern pop music, where once bands did everything in their power to create a unique sound quite unlike anyone else, now they strive to create a sound so similar to a famous classic group from days gone by as to be virtually indistinguishable. So prevalent has this movement become that it now has its own moniker; neo/retro. Amy Winehouse, Mika, Scissor Sisters, The Darkness, Jet, and Arctic Monkeys are just a few of the bands that sound similar to or exactly like big acts from previous eras. What’s more, they have been well rewarded for their efforts. Platinum discs, sell out tours and music industry gongs have flooded in for this type of ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’ music. It has been a slow process, preceded by the sound alike tribute band craze which spawned groups like Abbaesque who famously sold out the Point Depot, the sampling movement, which even U2 could not extinguish when they sued Negativland and the endless reunion/farewell tours of The Eagles. New music no longer means music that sounds new; it just means music that has the most recent release date. It sounds more like Dad spirit, if you will.

The Enemy are just the latest in a string of groups who are providing music to fans of previous generations of music industry legends that are now unable or unwilling to either tour or play the songs that made them famous. Bizarrely, it is bands such as Modest Mouse that, having signed up their hero Johnny Marr (nee Maher), are making music that is forward sounding and original whilst Arctic Monkeys, who sound so like 80s one hit wonder Jilted John that its no funny, find they have spawned their own, can’t even wait until the original have split, tribute band in Antarctic Monkeys.

As for The Enemy, well The Jam (minus Paul Weller) is presently on a reunion tour, your hard earned cash might be better spent on a ticket to see two thirds of the original of the species live instead.

Jules Jackson

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.

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