No Name No Color

“I came into this world as nothing, I ain’t gonna leave that way,” sings Zack Lopez on ‘I guess You Could Say’, the track which, on 10 March 2009, Zane Lowe damningly named his Hottest Record in the World. In a world of 6 billion people, Zane Lowe is a waste of human matter, and a man who acts like he is better than the music/musicians he features.

This is, of course, not Middle Class Rut’s fault, but their terrible name is. As the opening line mentioned above, from ‘I Guess You Could Say’, states, it is forging an escape from a middle class rut that fascinates them – confusingly, they want to escape from the very thing, that is also the name under which the act is carving out a meaty wedge of success pie. Badly thought out, I think, and not least because it is a banal topic, done to death by a thousand other musicians. It is a formulaic, predictable stance to take, confirming that the band’s opinions are much less rebellious than it thinks i.e. they’re not rebellious at all.

OK, so lyrically Middle Class Rut has little to say, but musically this is not the case. The duo makes an amazing amount of noise, and one that is so sonically driven that it could drown out the sound of a nuclear holocaust. “Simplicity rules” is the overriding ethos, manifesting itself in chugging, driving guitar riffs (matched with screeching high notes that sound like tears in the space-time continuum) and Lopez screaming James Dean Bradfield-like, then breaking into moments of unexpected melody. On first listen it’s an awesomely effective template, but it does start to wear a little bit thin by track 3 ‘New Low’, and in the end it is an inability to ditch this template for something/anything else that gives this album its overarching vibe, one of  monotony.

It’s a shame because, as exampled by that fantastic, picked acoustic guitar riff going on in the background of ‘I Guess You Could Say’, or ‘Dead End’, which comes as a massive Big Pink-esque sigh of relief, there is actually a very good band struggling to break through the atomic blast. “I ain’t half what I could be,” Lopez sings on the latter track. Never a truer word was spoken.

Release Date 15/11/2010 (Bright Antenna Records)

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...