Sunday, 25 July 2010

StringerBessant - Yard (Xtra Mile Recordings)

You remember Reef, right? They did that song ‘Place Your Hands’ back in the 90’s that is now a must for any budding DJ at a student night.  I know they did more than that, but really if we’re being honest that’s the only thing of note they ever released. Well now they’re back, kind of. StringerBessant are Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant, formerly singer and bassist of Reef respectively. I say formerly, Reef have reformed for a reunion tour this year so I suppose it is currently. So why oh why have they decided that along with having to relearn those old Reef classics, they would also go and write some kind of folk-blues album as well? To be honest I’m not quite sure.

The album is actually being sold as a ‘former members of Reef’ record (StringerBessant isn’t the most subtle), which is never a good start. If it’s not going to sell on its own merit then why bother? And being completely honest again, it wouldn’t sell without the Reef tagline (and it will probably still struggle). The songs are poorly written; they feel like they are never-ending. Gary Stringer’s gruff voice doesn’t suit the music and Jack Bessant just sounds weak. Some of the guitar work is OK, but as a whole it’s extremely dull. The only thing that I really enjoyed was the touch of theramin-esque synth in the first song ‘Hey Girl.’ That on a twelve song album just isn’t enough, maybe if it appeared a little later in the album as well I wouldn’t be giving such a bad review.

While we’re being honest, I like Reef. I think that their album ‘Glow’ is great, so StringerBessant must know what makes a good or bad song. All I can think is that they must have run out of good ideas. I am actually disappointed; I was quite excited at the albums potential before I pressed play. So do I think the 2010 Reef reunion might be a bit of a publicity stunt to promote a below par album? Yes I do, it needs it. 1/10

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