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My first encounter with Dalston three-piece Male Bonding was live, at the Camden Crawl a couple of years back, and at that point – perhaps hastily – I dismissed them as low-rent, no-brain grunge revivalists. Sadly, on the evidence of this, their second LP, there’s nothing substantial to shake me from that first impression. Opener ‘Tame The Sun’ is Nirvana-meets-MBV, with the requisite hazy vocals, while ‘Seems To Notice’ recalls early Lemonheads, down to the Dando-esque vocal line and the brushes of melody daubed on a dark, distorted backdrop. But that’s pretty much the high point. The tracks rattle by in quick succession, like a ropey boxer throwing out jabs at an alarming rate, but never getting anywhere near a knockout blow. What Male Bonding do, they do very well; but what they do has been done so many times, by so many bands, at so many junctures since Seattle, that to listen to them – live, or on record – is tiresome.

By Chris Watkeys

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