Fightstar - They Liked You Better When You Were Dead (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


They Liked You Better When You Were Dead (2006)

Deep Elm

I honestly cannot remember the last time I listened to a Deep Elm Records release that I outright did not like, at all. Granted some of their samplers contain a number of bands who don't do entirely much for me, but even those have a number of great tracks from some of their roster members I do like. I'm afraid that consistency is broken with Fightstar's They Liked You Better When You Were Dead.

The interesting factor surrounding the band would surely be the fact that the lead singer and guitarist is Charlie Simpson, an original member of the now defunct London-based boy band Busted. Thankfully, musical influence from that band is withheld from When You Were Dead, though there's an iffy radio rock sensibility floating about the album, which serves up early `90s post-hardcore á la Quicksand and the like, but sounding awfully watered down due to the aforementioned aspect.

You'll hear this immediately in the lead track and first single, "Paint Your Target." Throaty vocals adorn the song, which features a strong if not a very "alt-radio" fitting chorus. These are some of the record's most compelling moments, but offered in suspectible packages. When the band does step outside of this shell to build more epic and fleshed out tracks, it results in relatively boring compositions like "Cross Out the Stars" and closer "Mono."

I see Fightstar has a full-length coming out on Universal/Island this coming June, with 4 of When You Were Dead's tracks included. I suppose that makes this some sort of grandiose teaser EP, or from a different standpoint, that the band will deliver two full-lengths within the span of 3 months, which is impressively prolific no matter who you are. Hopefully it's that type of prolificness that inspires a school of songs that pander just a little less and find the band exploring territory they'll be better capable of treading further down the line.

Paint Your Target
Palahniuk's Laughter
Lost Like Tears in Rain
Until Then
Cross Out the Stars
Hazy Eyes

Paint Your Target
Palahniuk's Laughter
Lost Like Tears in Rain

Paint Your Target