22 April, 2007, Wembley Arena. The swan song of the Final Transmission Tour, a tour that saw Lostprophets reach heights only the most ambitious of modern UK rock bands would dare dream of. Headlining the Sunday at Download Festival? No problem. Drummers being head-hunted by Nine Inch Nails? It happened. All pointing to one very salient fact- this is a band with a lot to live up to. Will we, the listeners, be ‘The Betrayed‘?
I’ll be honest, after a very, very average recent performance at Sheffield Academy, I was not expecting to be blown away by The Betrayed. However, right from the off, and with the resoundingly massive drum beats of If It Wasn’t For Hate, We’d Be Dead By Now, my reservations are extinguished. Despite being marginally too slow a start for my liking, this is a concern quickly removed from memory by the frankly extraordinary Dstryr and Dstryr. Although, very early days, this explosive, oddly-named number stakes a definite claim for the ‘songs of 2010’ list.
This brilliant tempo shows no sign of ceasing with lead single It’s Not The End Of The World, But I Can See It From Here, an ample slice of anthem with scope for some fantastic sing-alongs in the live arena. Following this comes another colossal anthem, Where We Belong.However, this is an anthem of truly monumental proportions. This is Lostprophets at the best they’ve been in years.
And, building upon the best, comes the equally as fantastic Next Stop Atro City. Starting up-tempo, although slightly pedestrian, I’ll tell you where this song starts to establish itself. It’s 1-minute and 35-seconds. Everything from this point is stunning. Heavy, crunching and taking no prisoners, Lostprophets can simply do no wrong when everything’s going at a million miles an hour.
In spite of this predominantly perfect start, things, from this point, take a very pronounced turn for the worse. For He’s A Jolly Good Felon, although, having fairly crap verses and too much of an annoying indie twang, has a chorus that can still hold its own with the aforementioned tracks. Unfortunately, A Better Nothing does absolutely nothing for me. I’m not a fan of songs that take a minute to kick in; this does little to alter my preconceptions. The obligatory ‘look at how far we’ve come’ song; it has a passable chorus, but I definitely feel as if it could have been improved with more pace. In it’s current form, it’s bland and forgettable and requires significant enhancement.
Next up… Town Called Malice by The Jam!? No, this is Streets of Nowhere. Although, boasting clear finger-tapping potential, it’s so copycat it’s unbearable to listen to. Similarly, Dirty Little Heart does very little to excite me. Sluggish, ploddy and beige, it’s the first time on the album I find myself genuinely bored. And, kicking in all light and airy, Sunshine has great potential to be another dull non-entity. However, in spite of a distinctly average verse, the chorus is worth waiting for.
Working upon a similar formula to the latter, Darkest Blue is completely forgettable, failing to adequately ignite at any point within the song. And, finally, The Light That Burns Twice As Bright is a pretentious bore that does nothing for me whatsoever. Taking nearly 4-minutes to reach any kind of crescendo (I’ve heard 19 minutes if you’re unlucky enough to be listening to the Japanese edition), this is a song gifted only to the dedicated listener. And, after the notable deterioration in quality of this album towards the latter tracks, I’ve simply stopped caring.
In short, The Betrayed is an album of two very vivid halves. Had the first 6 songs been released as an EP, I wouldn’t cease raving for weeks to come. And, in all fairness, tracks 2-6 in particular will stack up significant amounts of plays in the future. However, the second half is essentially a stale, bog-standard Lostprophets.
So, did has this latest effort lived up to the heavy expectations? In my opinion, it has. This is a band that will be flying the flag for UK bands (particularly those of the Welsh variety) for years to come, and I await the outcome of this with much excitement.
– Ryan Haslam.
The album ‘The Betrayed’ by Lostprophets is available now through Visible Noise.