The British IBM - 'The British IBM'

by AlanAshtonSmith
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on 07 October 2012 in Albums & EPs
Record Label PDP8 Records
Rating 7/10

Judging solely on the name The British IBM, you could be forgiven for expecting this Cambridge band’s debut to be a retro electro affair. But if they have any drum machines or analogue synths they’re keeping them carefully hidden – this is very much a guitar album. The band name stems from their love of vintage computers, and some of their songs are based around this theme – plus their label, PDP8 Records, is named after a sixties computer. But the album makes clear the fact that there is much more to The British IBM than just their IT geek aesthetic. The title track is a languid but with a prickly edge, taking cues from both post-punk and Britpop, while ‘Cannibal’ is the album’s most insistent rocker, pushed along by driving drum-beats and yelped backing vocals. ‘Is It Too Late to Save Oscar Pike’ drops hints of Americana, but eschews the genre’s standard themes, capturing the malaise of leaving one’s youth behing with the refrain ‘Now your whole life is a dream that you’ve just woken from / Now your twenties have gone.’ For a band ostensibly comprised of computer geeks, there is plenty of humanity and sensitivity here.


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