SYMPOSIUM Average Man (Infectious)

"Average Man" is the fifth single from this NME-friendly top 30-resident London quintet, and as fashion dictates its a noisy slab of post-grunge rock. Ross Cummins’ vocals sound not unlike Gallagher Jr’s, ‘cept with more dexterity, and the band remind me strongly of Ash, with whom they share a record label. Not bad, but if it were my money I’d be buying Glitterbox’s "Scared Of All The World" single instead in a desperate attempt to make them famous.

SYMPOSIUM Bury You (Infectious)

SYMPOSIUM On The Outside (Infectious)

Two more CDs’ worth of post-grunge guitar rock from this inky- and Evening Session-favoured West London quintet. "Bury You" is their new single (it goes quiet bit-loud bit in the manner of many things since "Smells Like Teen Spirit") while "On The Outside" seems to be five-track sampler for their forthcoming album of the same name. There appear to be signs of new-found maturity in these tracks - the odd dab of piano and strings, for example, or the way some of them stretch lazily out towards the five minute barrier - all of which adds up to a competent modern generic indie experience, and none of which would pass muster as a Glitterbox b-side. It’s buzzy, fizzy, jumpy stuff that’s probably great to mosh to if you’re that way inclined, but nothing that would make me want to listen to these CDs ever again.

SYMPOSIUM Blue (Infectious)

Yet more Symposium - could there be some kind of EC Symposium CD mountain somewhere? The good news first: one of these CDs (it’s one of The Man’s CD1/CD2 scams, yet again) has a picture of a Mini on the cover, which is always nice, The Man’s bizarre policy of disqualifying any single with more than three tracks on it from the charts means that these discs are both pleasantly brief (three tracks clocking in at a gnat’s less than 12 minutes), and, most importantly, "Blue" is by far the best Symposium tune I’ve yet heard.

The bad news: well, that doesn’t really say a lot, does it? They’re still grafting out lowest common denominator generic indie white-boys-with-guitars rock that dreams of maybe one day inveigling its way onto a "Shine" or "The Best Album In The World...Ever" compilation, but for the moment will settle for mimicking the intro to The Wedding Present’s "Dalliance" as a substitute for musical maturity. Years ago bands like Symposium were handily bundled into the easily-ignored Transitcore scene, full of groups that you’d have to remind yourself were supposed to be terrific live as you waded through the swampy, turgid wastes of their studio work. (Remember Ned’s Atomic Dustbin? Mega City Four? Exactly.)

What really sinks "Blue" are the b-sides, as we used to call them. Seemingly (although probably accidentally) designed as a travelogue of late 70s genres, "Ode To The Frogs" is all football terrace oi/punk nonsense, whilst the atrocious "Carnival" starts off as a cruel parody (I hope it’s a parody, at least) of The Specials. Not nice, and not worth your time or money. Supposed to be great live, though...