While There’s Much wrong (the script, the acting, the smugness) with Channel 4’s slick, rather silly series about transatlantic lovers who are struggling against the odds but, like, have shedloads of money, the soundtrack’s wilfully hip. Granted it’s put together by the kind of people who think Snow Patrol are cutting edge, but in liking what the music press has told them to like, they’ve packed an impressive stash of new-ish white boy music onto this. If it gives up on representing just the cities of New York and London, settling for the looser brief of sharing fairly between the US and the UK, that’s probably wise. There are only seven bands in New York anyway, and three of those formed to cash in on The Strokes.
When America gets it right, it gets it very right. Here, The Rapture are soulful and sigh-drenched on “Open Up Your Heart”, using broken falsetto and the drum pattern from Bowie’s “Five Years” to direct a hymn to Young’s “After The Gold Rush” through a map of melancholy. Radio 4 are thrillingly direct, raising the ante on those recycled Gang Of Four rhythms and finding streamlined guitar sounds even Franz Ferdinand would kill for. The geography’s then forgotten, but Josh Rouse’s soft-spoken “Rise” is a purring passage of beauty and The Sleepy Jackson’s “Mourning Rain” mumbles manfully.
Joy Zipper jump into revitalised shoegazing territory, then the Brits are at their laziest as The Charlatans and Eighties Matchbox go through their emotionless motions. But the derivative Razorlight are full of cocky fire on “Action!” and Chungking do choice Lene Lovich funk-pop, while Bell X1’s “Eve, The Apple Of My Eye” is surprisingly torn and touching. The undervalued I Am Kloot’s “Proof” is witty, wry, despairing and literate.
England’s dreaming wins, by a nose.