The Shortwave Set – Replica Sun Machine

Hype is a strange thing. It helped Mark Ronson win awards for – as far as I can see – watching Amy Winehouse sing. It also convinced people that the Scissor Sisters were right to remake Comfortably Numb with high-pitched vocals and no guitars. Now it has suggested that The Shortwave Set’s new album is something quite remarkable. Well it isn’t.

The ingredients are all there: The Anglo-Swedish combination of band members which has served the much-hyped Razorlight well, their debut album The Debt Collection was named album of the week by DJ and hype-machine Zane Lowe, and now Replica Sun Machine has been produced by one half of Gnarls Barkley, the overhyped Danger Mouse. Anyone see a pattern emerging?

I feel sorry for anyone who has listened to House of Lies and expected a good album to follow. This is, sadly, the only decent track, and is massively let down by the music that surrounds it. The Belle and Sebastian-esque quaintness should consume the rest of the album, but for some reason the same spark is nowhere to be seen on the other tracks.

You can’t fault The Shortwave Set for trying hard, but it seems that the phrase ‘ideas above their station’ was made for this band. Their aspirations are high, but – with the exception of House of Lies – they have nothing to show for their efforts. Rather than being charming, the quirkiness of the London-based trio fails to engage the listener, to the point where they simply become irritating. There may be some ability there, but The Shortwave Set are hiding it well.

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