Nine Black Alps – Love/Hate (2007): Review

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Produced by Dave Sardy
Label – Island

The tragedy for Sam Forrest and his Nine Black Alps is that every time you’re introduced to a new song there’s a tendency to immediately think of which bands were influencing the tune. Not for one minute would one suggest that the Manchester four piece are parasitic carbon copiers, but there seems a limited amount of individual artistic craft to their music, and for that reason the culmination is a sound we’ve all heard countless times before. For example, their debut “Everything Is” (which incidentally wasn’t a bad album), owed a huge artistic debt to Nirvana and the early 90’s Seattle scene. The raw powerhouse riffing, the shredding rhythms, and Forrest’s anguished bursts weren’t new or fresh, but were at least urgent and largely invigorating. It seems that they took the constant press references to heart and the follow up sees a move away from the Grunge blueprint and into new musical territory. And what have they opted for ? Watered down mainstream alt. Rock of the most benign variety, lending itself almost intrinsically to the recent works of Feeder and Ash. It’s all very cautious, acceptable, and smells of strategy. One can’t even muster up an ability to dislike the album because it’s just so musically and lyrically lightweight it passes by without registration.

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The lead off single “Bitter End” sets the tone, lukewarm, desperately radio friendly as Forrest confesses his never ending love. It seems odd that he would wish to cling on to love, as the majority of the rest of the album describes how painful his relationship has become. Each song follows the same formulaic path, Forrest’s embittered emotional toils, played over a bed of all too familiar guitar melodies and spark less rhythms. Occasionally the monotony is lifted by something with a little more fire (“Pet Hate” and “Under The Sun”), but these are infrequent incidents in an otherwise mighty disappointment.

Nine Black Alps, with pent up passion, aggressive charm and grey charisma, just don’t manage to consistently write good songs.

5/10

Tracklist
“Bitter End” – 3.12
“Burn Faster” – 2.48
“Everytime I Turn” – 3.02
“Pet Hate” – 3.33
“Painless” – 3.30
“Future Wife” – 2.39
“Heavier Than Water” – 4.18
“Happiness And Satisfaction” – 3.23
“So In Love” – 2.12
“Forget My Name” – 3.16
“Under The Sun” – 3.44

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8 responses to “Nine Black Alps – Love/Hate (2007): Review

  1. Interestingly, I always think of Feeder when I hear these guys. Much prefer to spend the 40 minutes or so listening to Feeder (I liked some of their stuff way back when).

  2. that’s what I’ve learned over the past few years – it’s all about the songs, the rest that goes along with them isn’t going to make the difference if the songwriting isn’t there

    • Agreed. I think that’s the whole reason why I listen to so many genres of music, because if the song writing is strong, it doesn’t matter what style it’s played in.

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