The Social - A Call To Arms EP

On first hearing this, I was convinced that legendary Manchester pranksters Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias had reformed and turned their attention to spoofing the Smiths. They've got Johnny Marrs guitar riffs down to a "T" and vocalist Laurence Hussy has Morriseys intonation almost perfect leading me to wonder if they are just a tribute band that's decided to write their own material. However, before you think I'm about to launch into a total slating, I'd better let you know that I enjoyed these 5 tracks immensely.

Purists may run screaming from the room with their hands over their ears shouting "sacrilege" but even as a fan of the Smiths back in the day, the only criticism that I can lay at The Socials feet is "unoriginality". To slate the song writing, playing or lyrics just because it's not The Smiths would be doing them an injustice. I find it hard to fault a lyric like "Now my heart sinks to know that the formula for youth culture is locked in a safe in a boardroom in Bloomsbury" which could have come from the pen of St Moz himself.
If you've never heard the Smiths, think simple but memorable guitar riffs, and a vocalist whose vocal range is limited, borders on spoken word and sounds as if he's never had fun in his life. And yet, in the same way as their muse The Social have choruses that worm their way into your head and you'll be singing along or tapping your foot despite yourself.

I'm not sure if enough time has passed for The Social to win over a whole new generation who have never heard of the Smiths and diehard fans are unlikely to give this lot house room. Accusations of plagiarism will haunt the band and will perhaps be their biggest blocker to success but I'd urge any fans of the Smiths to give this lot a chance and listen with an open mind. I reckon that I'll be able to play this in a couple of years time and enjoy it just as much as I do now and there aren't many CDs I can say that about. Go on - give them a listen.

by Phil T.

Visit the Social Website