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Elephant 12 - 'Elephant 12' (I Blame The Parents Records) 4/5

Now I will confess from the start I really can't stand dance music, repetitive bass lines and endless 4 to the floor drum beats really do bring out a psychotic reaction in me, I have get away from it or I find I have a growing rage and an urge to physically attack the DJ or band or whatever is producing the noise. This intense dislike extends to dance/rock fusion outfits like Prodigy, Does it Offend You Yeah and Pendulum as well, so when I received this new EP from Elephant 12 and read the release blurb, I was quite prepared for the worst, and was all geared up to spit venom in the face of another bunch of rage inducing fusion merchants.

However after a couple of play troughs, the first rather tenuous and subsequent ones at louder volumes, I am glad to report there is nothing here to induce rage. Far from it, this ep is less dance/rock fusion and more hip-rock mash up; and I am partial to rap in small doses and have a lot of time for acts like King Prawn and Rage Against The Machine, who blend rock and rap and electronica; and as this is where Elephant 12 are coming from I will admit I'm beginning to get quite a liking for this ep. Nowhere does the electronica and dance drum beats ever impose on the music, they are there to kick the songs along, but it's the vocals and the guitar riffs that focus the interest just like all good rock should do.

The over all effect does sound like the aforementioned King Prawn jamming with the aforementioned RATM, melodic semi rapped vocals with a hard punk / SKA edge over laying some great metal riffage. All four tracks are great, but to me the real killer is the dark and brooding Money Talks a great little song that really does have a very infectious groove to it.

In short - a cracking little ep that's worth checking out.

For fans of... Rage Against The Machine, Primus, King Prawn, Lillydamnwhite etc....

21 Against - '21 Against' (self released) 3.5/5

21 Against are yet another of those annoyingly talented Welsh outfits, and like a lot of those annoyingly talented Welsh bands, this lot come from Llanelli. This 6 track mini album is apparently their second release and they are getting a fair following in the US and Canada already having toured over the pond a few times.

First up I gotta say there is nothing wrong with this album, it's expertly played, well produced and shows a great flair for song writing. In fact a couple of tracks on here are real classics. The opener Say What You Need kicks of with some tasty power chordage then soon cuts into a great little bop along number that wouldn't sound out of place on an album by their compatriots and near neighbours V0iD, Breakdown has a certain Lostprophets air to it and the closer Shouldered is a great anthem that should get the most hardest to please crowd going when performed live.

However in other places they are sadly heading into Nickleback / 30 Seconds To Mars territory and while that may be fine for fans of modern US rock radio and Kerrang fm, for anyone looking for more than the same old commercial rock fodder it comes over as a bit of a disappointment. Maybe its all those trips stateside are having an effect, but I can see a danger here of a great band alienating its home fans in order to obtain the mighty dollar.

Still 21 Against as a band have a lot to recommend them and this album is still good enough to be worth checking out, please don't let my own tastes distract you from something you may like, and I'm sure whether in the UK or the US they are a band with a worthy future ahead of them.

In short - worth checking out

for fans of... V0iD, Lostprophets, 30 Seconds To Mars, Stereophonics... etc