Now, normally I have a real issue with listening to bands that look like lad bands. They pop up as if freshly baked off a conveyor belt. Imagine; every day, different trainers. Bleugh.
Liverpool’s The Probes are alright you know? Really, really alright. And they’ve quietly caught me out. Now, normally I have a real issue with listening to bands that look like lad bands. Or come across like lad bands. It’s as if they exist in a self-imposed, never-ending prison bereft of any feeling or wit. They pop up as if freshly baked off a conveyor belt. Imagine; every day, different trainers. Bleugh. One thing I always hated about “trainer bands” was that they tried to musically ape that swagger that football lads had, you know, all that “sub-raga” salty yelping and sneering that Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft used to peddle; a two dimensional catch-all attempt to show feeling, without giving anything away. Artistic cowardice, really. Though there are hints of this in The Probes’ Synesthesia, it’s held firmly in check, and there’s a sharper, poppier sensibility. You can hear that in the way Marakech ends; 60’s cute; brisk and playful. The lyrics are very open too; Sunshine State of Mind is dreamy and expansive in a very affecting way. And musically, the dub version of Marakech does start to hint at other more interesting things that The Probes could start to explore; those spindly guitar runs are great and could be really bent out of shape, and the simple tick tock of the bass works a treat every time.
It would be daft to say that Synesthesia has totally divorced itself from stuff that’s gone before; Marakech does nod heavily to some of the vocal phrasings on Villiers Terrace and the and the guitar runs that prop up Sunshine State of Mind chug along like vintage Chameleons riffs. The best tracks for me is the driving Plastic Lamb which is goggle-eyed; frenetic without any poise or swagger; and tagged to a tinny guitar line that is annoying enough to be bloody catchy.
So; I like it. And any band that can knock out tracks like Sunshine State of Mind are well worth your time.