X Marks Destination
(Southern Fried Records)
As a debut, X Marks Destination is all over the place. The Whip's sound ranges from dance tracks that wouldn't be out of place at a mid-80s rave, to homages to fellow Mancunians New Order. There's even a smattering of Pet Shop Boys-influenced pop.
This apparent contradiction stems from the fact that they are a guitar band. But what is more, they use synths so heavily that their sound has been compared to German synth giants Kraftwerk.
Their combination of sounds should place the four-piece in Britain's promising New Rave scene.
Sadly, that promise isn't fulfilled. The opening track and single Trash is just that and should never have made it to the album. Things pick up with Frustration, though if you aren't a New Order fan you won't like it as it sounds like it's straight from a back catalogue.
Throw it in the Fire has plenty of bleeping and Bruce Carter's bored-sounding vocals never get the track off its knees. Single Sirens is a fine demonstration of the limited lyrics on offer throughout this album. The best track on the album is Divebomb that musically moves from 80s techno up to heavier rave beats of the 90s and spares us Carter's droll, repetitive and uninspiring delivery. Blackout is another track that should never have made the cut.
Muzzle No1 at last best mixes the band's meld of guitar and synth, but X Marks Destination isn't consistent or strong enough to please those nostalgic for the 80s or dance fans looking for something new.