The Computers have been around for just over ten years now, gaining much of their popularity in the latter half of this period, for example when supporting Rolo Tomassi and The Ghost of a Thousand at one of the latter’s last ever shows prior to their 2011 dissolution. Perhaps fittingly, supporting a post-hardcore band such as The Ghost…, The Computers had a considerably heavier sound in their earlier days, taking much from hardcore punk and post-hardcore.
With Birth/Death, as many bands do in a form of natural progression, The Computers have mellowed, featuring their own blend of garage rock, blues and soul. Even minor jazz and nineties influences creep into this album with stab chords, intervals and guitar progression all comfortably fitted within a variegated burst just short of thirty-eight minutes that passes by rather quickly. It is relatively dynamic and showcases, for example, highly controlled, intense, high register almost-shouted vocals dropped before sweet three-part harmonies. The major influences are bold and obvious, worn proudly on The Computers’ suit sleeves (The Clash, Misfits, Elvis Costello…)
Occasionally, a few lines jump out from Alex Kershaw’s mostly unremarkable lyrics. “Do you really think God hears you better on your knees?” Another line is a reprimand to those looking at the world through their broken [expletive] iPhones. Touché. It is fortunate then, that the musical backdrop is sufficiently captivating, despite the considerable focus on choruses and hooks.
The first track, ‘Birth‘ features a cappella vocals over soft keys and gentle ambiance, contrasted nicely by the following ‘Want The News Here’s The Blues’ that is upbeat and driving in the vein of the aforementioned styles. The album barely lets up for a moment until ‘God Only Knows’, offering a welcome change of pace halfway through. The two tracks that follow this are arguably some of the best songs this group have ever written, but which are let down by the tracks between them and the mellowing closer.
A few might try to argue that the world doesn’t need another band like The Computers. Others should urge them to reconsider their stance. Although they might not do anything all that innovate (who does nowadays?), The Computers have found their own style and are comfortable in it. They are highly proficient, incredibly professional individuals that have somehow managed to bring the party to the listeners at home with Birth/Death.
‘Birth/Death’ is out on the 30th of September 2016 via One Little Indian.
This Computers article was written by Fabian Basker, a GIGsoup contributor