DONE LYING DOWN John Austin Rutledge (Abstract Sounds)

This American quartet must be sick as the proverbial parrot with Pixies and Nirvana comparisons, but if they will open their debut album with the track that contains their most Frank Blackesque vocals, and if they insist on writing harmonies that sound like they've just fallen off "Nevermind"... But, fortunately, Done Lying Down are far from slavish imitators: certainly their hardcore approach brings to mind every recording ever breathed on by Steve AlBundy, but the (comparatively) more popkid sensibilities of a bunch of producers including Pat Collier (The Wonder Stuff, Kingmaker) and John Robb just about keep you from hiding behind the sofa. Most of the time.

Best tracks include the crunching singles "Just A Misdemeanor" and "Dissent", "Before She Changed", which loses points by starting out exactly like Sugar's "Company Book" before hitting back with a dreamy chorus, and the wryly observed "Fun" ("Help Police, give yourself a good beating"). Other kooky subjects include student life in, er, "Student III", juvenile crime in "Christmas Shoplifting" and summertime ennui in the welcome half-way acoustic track "Pennyhead". Only occasionally do they overreach themselves, as on the too-weird "Music Habit", or come over a little immature, demonstrated by "Heroes Let Themselves Be Killed".

If they can remain unfazed by the illustrious and odious comparisons heaped on them by the music press, Done Lying Down should have a fine future ahead of them. "John Austin Rutledge" is already one of the pleasanter surprises in a year notable mainly for big name let-downs. Buy it quickly and get a free CD or tape replete with an extra 15 EP tracks, and, as they say in the booklet, "Suffer the analog revenge!!!".


DONE LYING DOWN Kontrapunkt (Immaterial)

I’ve only managed to grab a preview tape of this so far, but initial impressions suggest that DLD have built on the pretty goodness of their debut album "John Austin Routledge": the lyrics are sharper (witness titles such as "Nirvana Ripoff", although quite what they’re doing singing about sending e-mails I dunno), the music more varied and interesting with any grunge excesses tempered by a wry sense of humour (witness titles such as "Nirvana Ripoff"!), and the vocalist has suddenly started sounding like Frank Black with a megaphone implant. Recommended.