Thursday, 18 September 2008

Album Review: Uh Huh Her - Common Reaction

There’s something a little desperate about naming your band after a PJ Harvey B-Side from an identically-titled album, regardless of the reasons. Perhaps even stranger is the fact that the chosen B-Side is from Peej’s least-critically acclaimed album to date. Not only that, it’s impossible to say Uh Huh Her without sounding like a twat.

The Los Angeles-based electro-pop duo features singer-cum-producer Camila Grey, a former member of lo-fi rock band Mellowdrone, who has worked with the likes of Dr Dre, Busta Rhymes and Kelly Osbourne. Even more notable, however, is musician and actress Leisha Hailey of The L Word and The Murmers fame. A chance meeting back in 2006 led to the decision for the two to join forces to start a band. Since then, they’ve sold out a number of shows across America and London, put out an EP titled I See Red, and, more recently, released their first full-length offering Common Reaction.

On first listen, this eleven-track début is an agreeable collection of synth-composed reminiscent pop songs. On closer inspection, Common Reaction becomes a considerably muted and transient affair. Tracks such as Everyone and Away From Here, are overwhelmingly derivative. The more you listen, the more you hear strains of Alanis Morissette's second release Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, and Shakespeare’s Sister’s phenominal rock ballad, Stay. In fact, it becomes impossible to listen without trying to identify futher unashamed imitations. Musical influences serve to provide references points for both the artist(s) and listener. After a while, this lack of clear original thought becomes irritating.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to comprehend why anyone would go to the trouble of writing, rehearsing, recording and (barely) promoting an album that, essentially, is completely unexciting in every way. In the words of the late Peggy Lee and Polly Jean herself, is that all there is?


Release Date: 18/08/08 Label RCA

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