Keep Bleeding is an album that succeeds in spite of itself.
On this album, Jonathan Greenwood’s recording project The Doublecross takes the basic mould of Hot Water Music’s upbeat melodic punk and adds a bit of radio-friendly sheen to it.
This isn’t a slight – there’s a place for commercial music, and the style works well on Keep Bleeding.
A lot of the tracks here bleed into one another (no pun intended), but the lack of variety is never an issue as the majority of the songs are enjoyable despite sounding similar. A highlight is the bittersweet My Only Friends Are Chemicals, although the majority of tracks here follow its same blueprint. There is some individuality, though. Bad Dreams channels Biffy Clyro-esque stadium rock, while Shattered Health veers into pop punk territory.
The album, as a whole, does teeter on the edge of post-grunge banality, especially on angsty tracks like 020814. However, the songs here are, on the whole, too well-written and FUN for it to ever affect the listener’s enjoyment of Keep Bleeding. As stated at the start of the review, it succeeds in spite of these leanings, because it refuses to let the listener not be swept away by its melancholic but danceable tunes.
Where the album does fall apart, however, is its ballads. There’s two: the plainly ridiculously titled Hurt People Hurt People, which is a slog; and The Lake, which sounds like a pub band playing an Oasis cover. They’re to be expected on an album that plays with rock radio sensibilities, but they’re low points nonetheless. Thankfully, they can also easily be skipped.
In spite of these two awful ballads, and in spite of The Doublecross essentially being a watered-down version of Hot Water Music or The Menzingers, Keep Bleeding is shamelessly enjoyable as a collection of fun, if commercial, rock songs.
Standout Tracks: My Only Friends Are Chemicals, Bad Dreams, Shattered Health
For Fans Of: Hot Water Music, Foo Fighters, Counting Crows
Written by: Alan Cunningham