The Amazons debut self titled album is the next 45-minute episode of the series of white guitar bands that dominate modern rock. Expect to see them blanketing the UK festival scene and playing on your doorstep by next week. After all, someone has to be making the big money in music.
The genre is fast becoming the Marvel Cinematic Universe equivalent of the music world. Every year, a marketable group of hipsters is pushed into the limelight, with a “where did they come from?” story to go along. The bright lights, the stadiums and the big guitars are enjoyable spectacles, but undeniably formulaic.
The Amazons are caught right up in the mix. Every track is airtight, production values are sky high and the band have their music rehearsed to a tee. After relentless touring, it’s no surprise that The Amazons debut album sounds like it could be easily be their tenth; and therein lies the problem.
It’s such definitive guitar rock that it verges on boring. A decade ago, they would have shared the charts with Kings of Leon and Razorlight. There are some stand out licks and hooks, In My Mind and Black Magic standing out amongst the track listing as future gig anthems.
Album opener Stay With Me ticks all the boxes required to make a hit rock track. Heavy grungy guitars make up the riffs, with a muted break before one last go at the repetitive chorus. The A/B/A/B structure is intact and the vocal melody is designed to an easy chant along to in a filled out stadium.
Holly Roller, a track reminiscent of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, is the star of the album. It takes the equation The Amazons have used for most of the record and twists it just enough to allow them a little uniqueness.
However, the song titles are bland and the record can’t shake the heard-it-all-before feeling. The relentless big guitars place the album straight in the door pocket of your dad’s car. The whole thing is manufactured stadium rock, but it isn’t necessarily bad for it.
If The Amazons are setting out to achieve stadium tours and become big rock stars, they’re doing everything right. For all the predictability that comes with the album, the level of familiarity that accompanies it at least brings a sell. This is music as commodity, music to be enjoyed and not thought about, moshed to by students and sharing stages with The Courteeners. Last year it was Blossoms, this year we have The Amazons – next year we’ll have another one.
Perhaps this is a cynical attitude to take; the album is certainly enjoyable. Guitar-rock bashing is certainly fashionable at the moment, but you don’t have to be as dramatic as Radiohead’s Kid A to be a little inventive with the genre. There’s nothing wrong with familiarity, but a little experimentation will keep an album fresh and listeners coming back. The Amazons lack an identity, but it might not be entirely their fault.