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'Impartial Advice' self-review

Originally published by Reyt Good Magazine: https://www.rgm.press/album-review-conor-houston-impartial-advice/


I wrote this as a parody of the kind of poorly-written arts reviews knocked up (usually) by students. I hoped to highlight that whilst taste in music is subjective, one should have an understanding of how it actually works if one wants to comment on it critically/constructively. Additionally, correct use of the English language is objective, and these aspiring journalists shouldn't knock other people's craft if they have no grasp of their own. All spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are deliberate.


“The release of a Conor Houston album is always an event”. This is probably what Conor Houston thinks whilst he sits on his lightning bolt-shaped throne, stroking his diamond dog, still refusing to play more than 3 live shows per year. What he fails to realise though, is that events are not always well-attended or enjoyed, and his latest album, ‘Impartial Advice’ is the musical equivalent of an office Christmas do. Or a mid-week gig in Bolton.


For starters, is this even an album? It clocks in at 30 minutes long and contains but 7 tracks. Surely this is an EP, whatever that stands for? I mean yeah, Slayer’s ‘Reign in Blood’ is only 29 minutes long, yet has 10 tracks. I mean yeah, Pink Floyd’s ‘Atom Heart Mother’ is 52 minutes long, yet has only 5 tracks. But I don’t care about those. I don’t believe that this is a proper album, and I will therefore treat it as something of a failure.


Conor Houston cannot even be bothered to write a full-length album (which should have at least 11 tracks). This “album” opens with ‘Repeat’, which contains homages to many titles and lyrics from the disco genre. He cannot even be bothered to right his own words either. If a man in his early twenties has already run out of creative concept’s for lyrics, his future doesn’t bear thinking about.


‘No Added Sugar’ opens with a plaintive sax cry, before launching into an upbeat pop number. It’s too jolly for my personal taste, and therefore it is rubbish. In much the same way, cats are too cat-like for my personal taste, and therefore they’re rubbish too. If only they would bark and fetch sticks like dogs do, then they would be good. “Buy a dog then!”, they tell me.


To add onslaught to injury, 2 of the measly 7 tracks are only half-finished. Both ‘The Devil’s Bedsheets’ and ‘Vice’ cut off prematurely and turn into different pieces entirely. Now, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but when I skip a song on Spotify, I want to be safe in the knowledge that I’ve already gotten the gist of it. What Houston has done here is extremely ill-advised where I come from.


Musically, the “album” has a very techno vibe, with it’s electriconic drums and funny noises. It would have been better if there was more guitars, as that’s what proper music is. It’s what Surge from Kasabian keeps banging about with the same enthusiasm Chris Packham has for preserving the planet. Did you know, that for just £3 month, you can help a Fender to be played at Glastonbury in front of footballers and the cast of Made in Chelsea? Houston clearly didn’t.


This musical heathen once joked, “Oooh, he sounds like David Bowie doesn’t he?”, mimicking those who pointed out this fact. It’s a fact which was hard to argue with since it was a fact, and it’s almost as if Houston consciously decided to sound like this. Now though, he’s almost completely cut ties with the deceased bisexual, but replaced his influence with lots of pretentious sounds and silly lyrics about things which no lad could ever possibly relate to. Avoid at all costs.


by Conor Houston


© 2020 Conor Houston

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