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Album Review: Nottingham - Talk To Strangers

There are really only so many ways to skin a cat. Personally, I feel very sorry for the pop-punk cat because there cannot be much left to him anymore. The next bunch of pretenders to All Time Low’s pop-heavy rock crown is Nottingham. Holding the hunting knife tightly in one hand, they manage to go through the motions, taking another layer off poor Mr. Tiddles without committing a fatal slice.

It is hard to criticise Nottingham for anything other than a lack of ambition. Nottingham have written a perfectly adequate pop album, and, unlike a capitalist economy, it has neither peaks nor troughs, preferring to sit comfortably in the middle, the average.

“Sleep” is a functional pop song, in fact it has a certain radio-single polish to it. It sounds quite a lot like Southcott or any other unremarkable band whose album you own but rarely play. “Bottle Rockets” turns up the distortion, moderately, and aims to be the rockiest number on the album. This time Nottingham are looking to hit Just Surrender territory, giving their squeaky clean sound a little bit of edge.

“She’s (not) the One” has clever parenthesis in the title which is always the sign of a cracking song. It even starts off with vaguely ironic lyrics which really does nothing to set it apart. Bear in mind that I am cherry picking these songs, if you listen to it through, like the way you should actually listen to an album, you probably won’t remember any of the songs on the first listen. That is apart from “Dumb” because you might thing you had hit shuffle and a Lit track had come on instead. The lead singer sounds scarily like Matthew Thiessen from Relient K at various points throughout this album though any comparison between the two bands beyond this is pointless as Nottingham lack the charm that Relient K seem to have in abundance.

I actually actively dislike reviewing albums like this. There is nothing actually wrong with it, but my job is virtually rendered redundant by the mere fact that if you have heard any mediocre pop-rock album of the last few years you know what you are going to get. It’s vastly unlikely that this will get on any ‘album of the year’ shortlists but it’s not close to being the worst thing released either. This is pop-rock by numbers and the album suffers for it. There is a single on here that could probably garner them a bit of radio play but as an album it disappoints, and it is the crushing lack of ambition that disappoints the most.


'Talk To Strangers' by Nottingham is available now on Lobster & Oort Records.

Nottingham on MySpace and Facebook.

Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!