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Forward Russia - Give Me a Wall Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

I have never understood why bands do stuff like this. Maybe it's so that knuckleheads like me will make a big deal out of it, revealing in the process how ignorant and shallow I am. But here goes anyway---what's up with the song titles on this record? Give Me a Wall contains 11 songs and all of them are named after numbers. The first song on the album, song #1, is called "Thirteen." Number 2 is "Twelve" and #3 is "Fifteen Pt. I" ("Fifteen Pt. II" is song #10.) And so on and so forth. At least the heavens align for song # 11 which is cleverly titled, "Eleven." Granted it would show a greater lack of creativity if these eleven songs were simply named "One," "Two," "Three," etc.

I don't think that Forward Russia is trying to confuse anyone. I don't think it is their intent to make smoke come out my ears. I think that maybe they like a good laugh (or larf, since they're English) and that maybe they don't want people spending too much time trying to read stuff into song titles when they should just be enjoying the music. You either like them or not. Either buy the CD or don't, don't sweat the details. Forward Russia would have fit in nicely in the New Wave era for a couple of reasons. First of all, they have well-written, tightly performed songs, good stuff. Secondly, singer Tom Woodhead has a manic way of singing that makes him sound, well, slightly insane, an endearing quirk that conveys volatility in the same manner that David Byrne did on the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." You'll hear stuff that reminds you of the Heads, the Police and Oingo Boingo but Woodhead shares vocals with the group's drummer, Katie Nicholls, on "Sixteen," a tune that sounds like it came out of Athens, Georgia as opposed to Leeds. The fact that there are many sounds here that ring familiar makes it really easy to cozy up to these guys as new friends. Music, wonderful; song titles, not so much.

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Forward Russia - Give Me a Wall

Label:Dance to the Radio/Mute

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