With its repetitive guitar hook that nags like an itch desperate to be scratched, and its knowing evocation of the UK's homegrown brand of "Spanish practices", the single "Weekends And Bleak Days" seems set to soundtrack what remains of the summer. But its parochial approach is both The Young Knives' strength and their weakness. For despite their preference for tweed and brogues, they're just another exponent of brittle British new-wave guitar pop with attitude, like The Ordinary Boys, The Others, or indeed, any of the others - just another footnote to The Jam, whose unhip, nebbish siblings they could be. There's clearly a more whimsical imagination at work in songs like "Mystic Energy" and "Tailors", their understated appreciation of dainty manual labour, but it's offset by a charmless disdain for routine livelihoods in tracks such as "Dialing Darling" and "Half Timer". But the crucial shortcoming on Voices of Animals And Men is musical: there are a million ways to combine guitar, bass and drums, but The Young Knives don't seem interested in discovering them.
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