"The line “Wipe that ginger smile off your face” has to be the most obviously personal insult thrown in rock."
Right, the first and title track, Understanding, sounds like Keane. I won't beat about the bush, the vocals are startlingly reminiscent of Tom Chaplin's, as the drumbeat is of Keane's drummer's patterns & fills. The guitars add a bit too much egg to the pudding and I don't particularly like Keane, but no matter; if they are your cup of tea, you'll like this. It's full of teenage yearning and melancholy, that's for sure. A hit, if handled well.
In true snotty reviewer fashion I have much more time for the next two tracks, as they are a bit more meandering, allowing for more space (and it's cousin, risk). Only Yourself to Blame is theatrical and vaudeville in the best sense of the word, with it's thumping chorus and splashy drums. Old Man is an acoustic number, one which is much more arresting, allowing the willowy strength of the song and the vocals to dominate. The understated guitar lead is particularly good on this track. The rather eccentrically named Ginger Smile is a set over a very intense, squealing guitar run. The line "Wipe that ginger smile off your face" has to be the most obviously personal insult thrown in rock; no-one apart from the abuser and his victim are going to know what that's all about. No matter, I quite enjoyed it's use. Why can't we have more insults like that?
There's a lot of promise here, I'd like them to listen to more Scott Walker (if I may be so bold as to suggest that).
Words: Richard Foster