I have to confess to being something of a philistine when it comes to Finnish rockers 'Negative'. Certainly, I have heard of them, and when like-minded cyber-buddies have guided me in their general direction, I have often made a mental note to look them up at some later date. For some reason though, that later date has never arrived until today that is, when ten years and three albums into their career I find myself in the company of 'Anorectic', some two years after its original release. Fashionably late, as ever!
By the sounds of opening tracks 'Arrival' (a 59-second medley of unspoken atmospherics) and 'Glory of the Shame' (a glam-metal monster in the vein of Gemini Five's 'Babylon Rockets') though, I've arrived just in time; the party's in full-swing and things are about to get rowdy!
Initial impressions may be misleading however, for instead of then encountering the expected sea of semi-naked girls, pools of vomit and discarded syringes on my way to the kitchen, I find myself immersed in the haze of atmospherics that is 'Reflections'. Moody as a jilted sixth-former and heavy as the clouds of exotic-smelling smoke coming from the bathroom, this hints at something more than the good-time, sleazy rock 'n' roll I had been drawn in by.
'One Last Shot' and 'Fading Yourself' continue in a similar vein, before lead-single 'Planet of the Sun' brings to mind fellow-Finlanders The Rasmus, and their pop-rock mega-hit 'In the Shadows'. Not my idea of a good time, but it no-doubt did wonders for Negative's profile back home.
What I'm really looking for now then is some more rock 'n roll to really get this party going again. Sadly though, this not to be found in the horrendous, breathy ballad 'A Song for the Broken Hearted'. This is precisely what 'skip track' buttons on CD players were invented for. Failing that, there's always a quick trip to the offie to replenish depleted alcohol supplies as an option. Seriously, this is the kind of bollocks that Brian McFadden would pay good money for!
Just as I'm thinking of fucking off down the pub to make the best of a bad night, 'Sinners' Night / Misty Morning' struts in and grabs everyone's attention again. Like the girl all the boys want to screw, this song turns the whole evening around, and more than makes up for the couple of mediocre tracks that precede it. This is one seriously awesome song, very much in the vein of 'Swagger' era Gun, and, like me, you'll find you just can't turn the stereo up loud enough. Before the song has finished you'll find the old bill bursting in through the front door, courtesy of your uptight, unappreciative neighbours.
Few bands can maintain that level of awesomeness for more than one song, and sure enough 'Swans' sees Negative taking a slight breather, before 'Stop Fuckin' Around' picks things up again. Reminds me a little of LA Guns, this one, but still maintains the Scandinavian feel that flavours the whole album. Predictably raucous, given the title.
It's getting late now and the party is nearing its end. Those left standing are heading for the door, leaving equal numbers of passed out and fornicating bodies littering the premises. 'Embracing Past' and 'We Can't Go On' round the evening off nicely then: the former all mellow and moody; the latter signalling kicking out time for sure - all crunching guitars and soaring vocals. A fitting end to an evening's revelry.
Except, there's always the long walk home, and 'In Memoriam (Immortal Peace)' is the accompaniment to the morose drunk who didn't manage to cop-off and doesn't want the evening to end just yet - staggering along, first fast, then slow; loud, then quiet, and finally nothing.
Just like all the best parties then, 'Anorectic' has something for most of us. It has its ups and it has its downs, but the ups just about exceed the downs, and if you made it home, and can remember the best bits come the morning after, you know it's gotta be worth looking in next time! Right?
Visit the Negative Website