They Walk Among Us – Mathematics, Art in Progress

They Walk Among Us
Mathematics, Art in Progress

Ah Wales, the oft-overlooked part of the greater British Empire. Even though my last name spawns from some far off Welsh ancestry, I know remarkably little about the country except that it’s small and I’ve never been to it. The great exports of the past few years seem to be Catherine Zeta Jones and Super Furry Animals. Sweet fuck all, I will concede that CZJ is hot, so to be so stubborn and culturally uniformed I will state that it must be a pretty alright place. They Walk Among Us also hails from Wales, and since this disc happened to appear in my mailbox, the group could have easily unwittingly become ambassadors for all things Welsh. It’s a weighty task indeed. But after listening to this disc, I decided not to go that route and won’t hold anything against Wales or the Welsh people.
The group mostly dawdles in insipid British and American rock stereotypes. And unfortunately for their sharp production skills and ability to wield their instruments competently, they suffer from an inability to write an original and exciting pop song with decent lyrics. For example the opener, “Telescopes,” starts out as a stomping rock number but quickly deteriorates with the chorus, “I’m alive like anyone else / I give blood like anyone else” and follows with what appears to be the inventory of an apartment. If you take slices of influence from groups like U2, Manic Street Preachers, Kill Holiday, Flickerstick – hell even Matchbox 20 – you might have an idea of what the shimmering and glossy songs on this disc sound like.
This music isn’t as annoying as you might think. The problem is mostly that it isn’t truly noticeable, provocative, or enjoyable. It is entirely anonymous and interchangeable with a number of groups – be they British or American – striving for stardom by replicating formulas often proven to top the charts.