Centre Excuse. It occurs to me I’ve never mentioned them in the 18 months I’ve been running Needs More Cowbell. I’ve been following this band with increasing interest over the past three or four years. I found them purely by chance while scrolling through YouTube and for a seventeen-year-old who was just starting to get his feet wet in the grand world of post punk and synth pop they were a huge deal for me. When I heard that they were finally coming out with an album I got in touch with the boys and they’ve just now sent me an early copy of the record, which I am very grateful for. It surprised me to find out that Centre Excuse recognised me from the quiet support I’d been giving them over the years and it properly put me in a good mood. It just goes to show that these guys pay attention to their fanbase. Teddy and Alex are back after a decade of work with their debut record: Favourite Soul. And let me tell you, it’s a good one.
With a whopping fourteen songs, Centre Excuse bring together all the songs they’ve released over the past few years, along with a good amount of brand-new material. Stand outs from the record are the melancholy Killing Me and the title track itself. As much as I would enjoy covering every song on the album, I’m already nearly halfway through my self-imposed word limit so I’m going to have to keep it brief. However, at the end I will offer a brief overview of my thoughts on the rest of the album. Let’s start with Favourite Soul. It is a wonderfully catchy tune with an eerie sense about it for the verses, thanks largely to Teddy’s haunting vocals and the gothic guitar work. The track truly kicks into gear for the choruses. I’m normally terrified to sing out loud as I’m an awful singer, but Favourite soul had me screeching at the top of my lungs and clapping along to the beat. It being nearly ten o’clock my brother rang me and told me to shut up – sorry Hec.
Killing Me on the other hand, while still beautiful is a bit darker with its minor key, heavy synth work. There are a lot of layers to this track and it’s these layers which make it one of the best cuts on the record. The driving sequenced bass synth, heavy drums contrast powerfully with the more melodic lead lines. Once again Teddy takes it to another level. His vocals are on par with all the eighties old school synthpop and goth tunes that Centre Excuse clearly takes influence from. Yet despite being technically derivative from all those bands, Centre Excuse provide new ideas, brilliant song writing and awesome musicianship on this flagship record.
I’m getting really close to the limit now so I will say just this to finish this review off. This is an amazing record. A culmination of ten years of hard work that every other band should look at and take influence from. I do feel that in places things don’t flow as well as they should and the album can be a little too much to take in at times. But these are only minor nit-picks. I implore my readers to check out Centre Excuse and I wish Teddy and Alex all the success in the world.
Peace, Love and Cowbells,