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New Noise REview 'Man Vs. Monster'

'As good as anything Dave Grohl's men have produced in recent years'

Having played guitar in a funk rock outfit for the past eight years, Jetplane Landing’s Cahir O’Doherty must have started to get an itch. With his new hard rock outfit Fighting With Wire, he doesn’t so much scratch it as apply enough E45 cream to make sure the bugger is banished forever. ‘Man Vs. Monster’ is simply a crisp, polished no frills rock album. Where Jetplane Landing counted Fugazi and At The Drive-In among their main sources of inspiration, O’Doherty has taken these influences and produced a more commercial effort, with a polite nod in Foo Fighters’ general direction.

That said, superb opening track "Cut The Transmission" has At The Drive-In’s grating, discordant guitar sound stamped all over it, with a Cedric Bixler-alike signature yelp to match. The difference is that FWW endeavour to strike a fine balance between the cacophonous model of their alternative contemporaries and radio-friendly melodic rock riffs and vocals.

Single "Everyone Needs A Nemesis" and the fantastic "All For Nothing" also pack enough of a punch to suggest that the band are onto a winner, the pounding drums of the latter leading into an emphatic chorus that is as good as anything Dave Grohl’s men have produced in recent years. It’s by the far their best track, but the problem is that, as the album progresses, this is, crushingly, as good as it gets. The choruses on "Sugar" and "Strength In Numbers" are rather lethargic, falling just short of the mark and don’t leave as much of an impression. Having sprung out of the blocks so earnestly, they then struggle to retain the same level of interest.

A brief resurgence is noticeable towards the end on "My Armoury", but only because it follows the same format as "Cut The Transmission". "The Quiet" looks like it’s shaping up for a valiant finish to the album, but by this point, the sense of predictability is hard to shake.

With ‘Man Vs. Monster’, Fighting With Wire are not exactly striving for an original sound. Although this may be a deliberate approach, it is too close a sound to their aforementioned influences and, aside from a handful of outstanding tracks – trump cards played consecutively, too early on and hence, to their obvious detriment – does not offer anything especially memorable. Don’t get us wrong; this is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, and is likely to attract plaudits but there is little escaping the fact that it detonates its payload too early and sadly, never really recovers.

- Pete Charles, New Noise