The Others

‘What do you expect me to do, I’m my mother’s son. Would you prefer me to lie? It’s just the truth that hurts.’ So goes the opening salvo from Inward Parts, The Others’ second album. Dominic is feeling hurt and lays a bleeding heart on the album cover and a video of a dentist’s chair to show how tortured he feels. But, in reality, the first thing that stands out is the stinging guitar line. The first album had ridden high on tight guitar work and monster-sized choruses, totally excusing any lyrical naivety and the slight tendencies to cheese. This album seems to have had the choruses turned down somewhere so some just don’t have quite as much catch. Dominic pondered, when I spoke to him, whether being happy conflicted with the creative process that had driven the first album. He doesn’t sound THAT contented here… by track two, Dominic is complaining ‘They called me a bastard’.

Thing is, despite selling more than enough albums, his label still chopped the band and a winter was spent seeking a deal, followed by a summer recording. This leaves a trail of bitterness in the writing and somehow the songs are less gripping than the first time I heard them live. Dominic states the bleeding obvious in his songs, each is a heart-on-sleeve exercise in packing in cliches to outline the tortured artist’s predicament. Where songs are huge and stompy, that works really well, giving a driven verite to the oeuvre. Here, in quieter moments, that wilful open-heart approach sounds more gauche than exposed.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments of excellence – the first track is great and Looking For A Product (his personal spin on the band’s career) has a power and sweat that derives from him really really believing in what he says (‘everyone is looking for a product, we don’t seem to fit that mold’ – oh yeah?). Why Should I Try? is another winner and Got No Money is a mosh-pit driver. Dominic has tried to build a career on documenting his own life, filtered through the special vision of a messiah. Where he stands tall, as he did in the guerilla-gigging phase, he has a magnetic quality. Where he is more on his uppers, he comes over as a wee bit self-obsessed and is carried along solely by what is left of his self-belief and the innate strength of the band. This is a band as adept at pumping out good old-fashioned pop-rock as Pulp were, full of bounce and fizz and crunch. They stand and fall on the front-man’s performance and here Dominic’s legendary self-belief, one that has rivalled Johnny Borrell’s wavers in places and the high-wire act of public persona wobbles. I’d like to think that this was a temporary blip but the public is fickle and Dominic’s work relies on the adulation that, removed, will leave him flat in a a Moebius strip of cause and effect.

Ross McGibbon