Pitchshifter / The Kennedy Soundtrack - Manchester Academy 2 - 4.10.02

Hot on the heels of supporting fellow rockers Taproot, The Kennedy Soundtrack are joining Pitchshifter on a tour of the provinces. Cards on the table time folks. I really wanted to like the Kennedy Soundtrack, I truly did. They have all the right elements to be a classic rock band and have youth and enthusiasm on their side. But the reality is they're phoney, unoriginal and false. For a Welsh band to adopt fake American accents and trying desperately to look like inner city MC's from the heart of the projects is nothing short of an embarrassment. Ridiculous hip hop poses are thrown around with abandon like Wales just discovered MTV Base and decided to twin Cardiff with the Bronx.

Coming from the Valleys, the Kennedy Soundtrack are also keen environmentalists as they kindly recycle old guitar riffs from the 1970s. One minute they sound like the Fun Lovin Criminals with guitars and the next they're a Cypress Hill tribute band. The actual music as you'd expect is MTV / radio friendly rap rock crossover like Linkin Park or fellow Welsh boys the Lost Prophets. It's not that they're bad, just passionless and limp, yet they know their way to a great melody and possess a cannon of catchy tunes. Still they remain as yet another faceless rock band.

Like a Phoenix rising from majestically from the ashes, Pitchshifter are back on a new record label proudly promoting their latest offering - the more melodic and slightly more commercial "Industries". In spite of this the venue is alarmingly on 3/4's full, but hey who cares, this is one appreciative and dedicated group of fans. The Nottingham techno fused rock gods, like the Prodigy bringing techno to rock rather than the other way round, are not afraid to mix up styles. Even though lead singer Jon Clayden appears to be the friendliest most chipper frontman in rock he still has a menacingly, raspy, throaty voice that at times is unsettling.

Despite the collision of multi-genre samples and beats the sound is at times rather muffled spoiling an otherwise great night out. But the fans don't care, Pitchshifter are firing on all cylinders and show no signs of giving up just yet. Although the new album is less raw, it works brilliantly live with an instant hit to the senses from the first crunching riff and can hold a candle to anything from their extensive back catalogue. Pitchshifter have moved on, but not to the extent of alienating their fans and it would seem then that Pitchshifter have yet to reach their peak.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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