The Paddingtons - No Mundane Options

They produce a better sound when they strip back and stop trying to do everything at the same time.

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Released 4 Nov 2008 | Mama Bear | By Rachel Edwards | Rating: 2
The Paddingtons - No Mundane Options

"Ah, let sack this off and get proper jobs", thought The Paddingtons after becoming disillusioned with the record industry, so they split just after their first album. But there were no 9-5 jobs for them, and they came back. That is not a good reason to come back. Maybe they should have held out... something would have come along.

Naming their second album 'No Mundane Options' was a brave choice, because it is in fact full of mundane options. With similar melodies and arrangements, each song blends into the next. They all have a very 'indie rock by numbers' sound, thrashing guitars and screechy wailing. In 'Punk RIP' the backing singers actually sound bored and the basic lyrics sound lazy: "looking at you, looking at me, will you understand, take me by the hand". Just because words rhyme doesn't make them any good.

'What's The Point In Anything New' is slightly better, complete with a shouty chorus; 'Shame About Elle' starts off promisingly but then goes unnervingly off-kilter with several out of tune moments. As if they've started to warm up, things improve midway through the album. In 'Sticky Fingers' the thrashing guitars do cease long enough for a bit of harmony. With 'Molotov Cocktail' things become more coherent with a cute "wooo wooo" in the chorus you could imagine being snapped up for some mobile phone advert. Frontman Tom Atkin is finally singing his heart out and it sounds good, like he's enjoying himself at last. There's even a key change thrown in the end, which is very welcome after the monotony of many of the previous tracks.

With 'You & I' things continue to improve with a riff that nods to Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall', but the next few tracks revert to type; 'Stand Down' hits the nail on the head with the lyrics "you've seen it all before". Finally, 'Heartsong', with its good scratchy riff, is slower, with much more imagination, showing they produce a better sound when they strip back and stop trying to do everything at the same time.

Imagine mixing The Cribs, The Pigeon Detectives and Kaiser Chiefs in a blender, pouring half the juice into a glass and then topping up with water. That's what this sounds like. It's not that they're bad, it's just that this has all been done before - better.