Coeur – Activist

“…this is the 21st century and I’m waiting for it to start…”

Hmm, it may seem churlish to point out but upon hearing that lyric from ’21st Century’ it is impossible not to exclaim, “It has…just not on Planet Coeur”.

For while paying homage and lip service to the 80s is still dragging along (increasingly sluggishly) the similarities between most tracks here and Depeche Mode are beyond obvious: it may be de rigeur, but if Coeur ever support the Mode you’d more or less get to hear the headliners twice.

That’s not to say it’s not any good, but when an album serves principally to remind you that you quite like another band – whom you’ve not thought about for a while – it’s perhaps time to inject a little extra personality and, dare one say it, originality.

It’s competent and well produced and in a sweaty basement I dare say it would be a joy but… well there’s influence and there’s soundalike: first equals fine, second equals… not so much.

Across the ten tracks the Coeur straddle neatly the earlier, borderline camp aspects of the originators with the later drug-fuelled, stadium bombast and muscle; there’s certainly an attractive moodiness and broodiness to the vocals of Danny Davis.

Sure the odd bit of guitar is chucked in, but it’s derivative synth-pop in the main: they can play, no doubt about that, and they can write; but is there a way of including an undoubtedly attractive aesthetic but taking in more modern sensibilities?

Who knows – originality has hardly ever been a sine qua non of success so this may be a screaming hit.

As a first album it’s solid, no more no less: a building block and a marker from which they must go on.

Good reports as a live proposition however but on the basis of this album – decent though it is – I’d need to hear something more.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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