Mainly Genius

Review: The Rebs – In a Heartbeat

A few weeks back I attended my first gig outside of the capital for a long while and, whilst I didn’t expect to be disappointed, it’s fair to say my expectations were lower than usual. Someone once said that when it comes to music, London is the place to be and although it may be where most record labels are situated, an energetic and marvellous performance from Southampton based band  (and last year’s ‘Road To V’ winners) The Rebs, proved categorically that there’s plenty of success to be found outside the big smoke.

They took to the stage in a unusually professional manner and it was immediately obvious from the moment the synth line of album and set opener Would I Remember swung into view, that we were dealing with a group a league above the rest. The energy lasted throughout and lead singer Russell Edmonds continued to roll out melody after melody that had the room buzzing.

I’ve since come in the possession of their debut album In a Heartbeat and, as is customary on this blog, will proceed to give my opinion.

First off I should say that The Rebs aren’t that original. The best summary would probably be a cross between the Killers and The Kooks although the latter does do them a fairly large injustice. They’ve taken the best bits of the both those bands and formed them into a dynamic album that hints at being something more than simply indie.

As I mentioned above, opener Would I Remember immediately sets up what the band are about. It’s one of the stronger tracks on an album full of singles and contains a fist-pumping chorus that reminds of The Automatic in their prime (and on that single), and semi-title track Always In a Heartbeat has brilliantly crafted electronics that sit expertly within the crashing drums and overdriven guitars. It’s clear just two tracks in that these guys have won awards for their song-writing.*

The melodies don’t end there.  Keep Smiling is a impressive, Zutons inspired pop track that is ready made for the festival circuit this summer and first single Don’t Fool Yourself is a clever, laid-back song that is the highlight of the album. Not only is it excellent as a straightforward indie-cum-pop track, its use of strings and pads really lends the song an authority that lifts it out of teenagers bedrooms and into the mainstream.

If there was a criticism to be made, then it’s perhaps that the album does feel like it’s repeating itself. On the the band’s myspace, influences are listed as “Artists with great songwriters – we like singles” and whilst that is refreshing to see, it wears towards the business end of In a Heartbeat. Songs such as Leave it all Behind seem a little like they’re forced to fit with this mantra and make the album seem like a singles collection than a cohesive album.

Whilst it would be nice to see some development and a small injection of variety, In a Heartbeat is an excellent debut from a band that really is on the rise. Songs such as Would I Remember and Don’t Fool Yourself (both below) ensure that it rises from the ashes of the fading indie scene and arguably above its predecessors. It’s an unrelentingly catchy and well-produced collection of songs that’ll form a great soundtrack to the summer and is a commendable effort from a band that is as good live as any other I’ve seen this year.

They might not be breaking too much ground yet, but they’re certainly having a great time trying. Remember the name.

*Don’t Fool Yourself won both Best Pop Song and Best Overall Song at the Exposure Music Awards that, I’m reliably informed, are judged by a panel of assorted experts.

Visit The Rebs or their MySpace

Get the album on iTunes

Below is album opener Would I Remember and award-winning single Don’t Fool Yourself. Both are brilliantly catchy and are the perfect soundtrack to the summer.

The Rebs – Don’t Fool Yourself

The Rebs – Would I Remember


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[…] page include The Rebs’ unrelentingly catchy and well-produced debut In a Heartbeat (full review here), both End Times and Tomorrow Morning from Eels that see prolific frontman Mark “E” Everett at […]

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