Album: The Others

The Others, MERCURY

There's something antiquated about the kind of ham-fisted punk riffing and cock-er-nee caterwauling employed by The Others on their debut album. Hotly tipped for success largely due, one suspects, to frontman Dom Masters's friendship with Pete Doherty, they embody the essential contradiction of the neo-punk movement, in being so in thrall to a musical style and attitude that was washed-up before they were even born. Try to imagine The Sex Pistols playing 30-year-old wartime swing, and you'll get some idea of the absurdity - and, more importantly, the tragedy - of it. "I don't seem to understand what's wrong, but doing this, it makes me feel I belong," sings Masters on "How I Nearly Lost You", one of several songs ("Stan Bowles" is another) bespeaking affection for tragic losers. But beyond such vague consolations ultimately lies... nothing. None of the anarchic thrill of The Pistols, the self-determination of The Buzzcocks or the political impetus of The Clash. Just the mythology of martyrdom. When Masters bellows, "This is for anyone who's left their hometown... this is for all the kids who stand out in a crowd" in the wannabe anthem "This Is for the Poor", I can't help thinking: is this all you have to offer them? No Fun, indeed. No Future, by choice.