Mercury Records – 2005 – 44 minutes

You've got to hand it to them for figuring a way around annoyingly high booking fees for concert tickets – The Others' fans sometimes find out about gigs via text message, word of mouth or the band's website.

Whether these impromptu guerrilla performances of yore will continue now they are attracting the attention of the British music press and selling more CDs is another story.

At its best, The Others' self-titled debut combines tuneful guitars with earnest vocals about ordinary life. On songs like 'How I Nearly Lost You' and 'Johan', the guitar play is as accomplished as anything on an Interpol album. Dominic Masters' lyrics tell down-to-earth stories about the lives of people struggling to survive and doing their best to get enjoyment from life.

However, these stories have a decidedly downbeat tone that permeates throughout, and the album never quite manages to expand its range of moods save to swing from despair to anger and back again without making any profound observations.

Poverty and social injustice are the dominant themes on the record, as stated most completely on 'This Is For the Poor', which sounds like The Others' manifesto against disadvantage in the world. The central line of the song ("This is for the poor/Not you rich kids") makes that much clear, if the title hadn't already.

Cynics will point out, though, that it's somewhat incongruous that The Others sing lines like "I don't want to sell my soul to The Man today" (on debut single 'Lackey') while they have a contract with a major record label.

The band would probably argue that there's not much point being a champion of the disenfranchised if nobody hears you, and they would be right. Still, this shouty, noisy record is unlikely to tempt many fans of the likes of current darlings Keane or Coldplay to part with their own hard-earned cash however worthy its intentions. 

Bill Lehane

Tracklisting: Lackey - In The Background - William - Almanac - How I Nearly Lost You - Stan Bowles - Community 853 - Psychovision - Johan - Southern Glow - This Is For the Poor - Darren Daniel Dave