July 26, 2005

World Leader Pretend "Punches"

Listening to Punches, the second album by New Orleans’ World Leader Pretend, is like listening to a lesser Coldplay. While Coldplay is a generally good band, the same can’t be said by those who are aping their sound for cash and other prizes, and it’s instantly apparent that World Leader Pretend wishes to be aligned with such bands. Though named after an REM song, they might have been better suited to have given themselves a name like “Fake Plastic Yellow” or “Karma Police Clocks.” So thoroughly awash in the styles and sounds of late-90s Britpop is World Leader Pretend, it’s hard to hear anything approaching originality from this band.

Of course, when you’re copping your form from bands that make pretty music, it’s pretty much understood that your record is going to be pretty, and you certainly can’t fault World Leader Pretend for not making pretty music. Songs like “Dreamdaddy” and “Into Thin Air” are nice and pretty, and lead single “Bang Theory” sounds really nice, but it’s hard to reconcile the fact that they sound so…generic. Keith Ferguson sings with a nice enough voice, but it’s hard to get past the Ian McCulloch-isms and the overt Thom Yorke mannerisms that pop up throughout the record. To give the band credit, their use of piano throughout Punches is a nice touch, but for the most part, it doesn't hide the fact that World Leader Pretend is simply derivitave. Maybe in the future, they could try to escape the atmospherics that are clearly not their own; when they do so on “A Grammarian Stuck In A Medical Drama,” they do cause the ears to perk up, though the problems of before do tend to pop up almost instantly.

One would like to think that the music industry would start looking for the new sound and stop milking the whole Coldplay sound. I mean, at this point I'm sure even Coldplay have tired of their sound. But hey, if the record label thinks that rehashing a dated sound is what the people want, then I guess it’s what the people will be given. Seriously; I mean, we’ve got Aqualung, so who really needs World Leader Pretend?

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.wlpband.com
Label Website: http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com

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