STA is now Ten Years Old

405.com - 'LaFaro' - Album Review

'As dirty and grimy as even the most perverse fantasies of Danny Boyle, the debut album from the Belfast quartet is fiercely unrelenting.'

Don't let the hints of faux French sophistication fool you; this band belong in the gutter, chilling with Jack London, exchanging anecdotes of eating cigarette ends from piss-soaked streets back when Queen Victoria was still kicking about because we were so hungry and Joe Rowntree hadn't been by with his weekly Fruit Pastille rations yet. As dirty and grimy as even the most perverse fantasies of Danny Boyle, the debut album from the Belfast quartet is fiercely unrelenting. So consistently loud and noisy it draws comparisons to a whole array of brand-name drills and hammers like if a construction site formed a band and rehearsed at a local B&Q. Their music is reminiscent of some of the early Seattle peddlers like Tad but will draw more contemporary comparisons with bands like now extinct, Welsh trio Mclusky. For heavy-riffing guitar fans there's as much here to enjoy as there is on any Soundgarden album, especially if you liked Superunknown. However it's far from perfect.

The biggest flaw with this album is the vocals, which struggle to be heard over the noise of the band, like a neighbour banging on the wall asking them to turn it down, it doesn't sound like the work of a coherent unit and it drags down the overall quality of the music. The band's style also has a tendency towards familiarity as the album wears on, there's an apparent paucity of ideas after the first five or six songs and there's very little value in the second half of the album, unless you fancy hearing something only slightly different to what you've just listened to anyway. These are quite grave errors too, because there's lots of good songs that are tempered by these limitations, 'Tupenny Nudger' and 'Girl Is A Drummer' are prime examples, songs with potential that isn't really fulfilled here. At their peak, they can rock with the very best of those who emerged from the swampy nineties grunge scene with all their body parts intact, but that's just not enough to make for a complete album, which is where this otherwise promising album, falls down.