Uberrock (UK) reviews Breaking The Ice LP | Press | Privet Earth
Uberrock (UK) reviews Breaking The Ice LP

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 03:40

Privet Earth! may well be a shit name for a band, but let's get one thing straight from the off, Privet Earth! are not a shit band. Originally known simply as 'Smirnov', the surname of the Russian born and bred band-leader Ivan Smirnov, a man heavily influenced by British/US rock royalty. His heroes, including the likes of Bowie, Mercury and Lennon, have helped shape his musical direction and his dream led him to LA where he formed the 3 piece band Privet Earth! 'Breaking The Ice' is their sophomore album that promises more of what this man labels 'Blitz-Rock'.

The first thing that hits me about this album is the pop sensibilities coming through in every song. While 'Breaking The Ice' is definitely a rock record the songs are pop based, full of quirky goodness and soaring vocals that prove one thing, Smirnov owes as much to Mika as he does to Mercury and Bowie. 

Opener 'Ice Orkestra' mixes up classical influences with pure pop melodies in a good way, upbeat and majestic it sweeps along nicely with a certain urgency and a big smile. 

The radio-friendly 'Forest Queen' comes on with a cool, catchy hook over a nice Indie beat that just cries out for the airplay that it will never get. A great song that deserves to be heard people so do yourself a favour. 

This album does verge worryingly towards '80s Euro Pop at times, take the bombastic, keyboard driven 'Big City' or the awkward sound of 'Kool Cool Boy', songs full of cheesy Euro Pop charm, but, you know what... it sort of works. But you definitely can't diss the catchy hooks in the likes of 'Universal Child' or the fact that 'Dive', with its handclaps and funky Prince vibe, is a quality track indeed that goes down the route of Awolnation. If a band like Awolnation can get Radio 1 airplay, then I see no reason why Privet Earth! cannot do the same. 

The strings on 'Give It To The Wind' give an epic, orchestral feel that coupled with the now usual pop sensibilities make for a song that could again easily be a radio hit. Then we have them coming on like Mansun with epic piano led soundscapes created in 'Evrika' and 'Bull-S' sounds like modern day Axl Rose attempting something groundbreaking and contemporary which we all know is surely an impossibility these days. 

Ivan Smirnoff has created a commercial sounding rock album that mixes things up and could well appeal to the masses if pushed in the right direction. Their sound is quite hard to pigeon-hole which is a good thing and refreshing to hear, a bit of Foxy Shazam here, a good dose of Mika there, it just sounds nice to my ears this Blitz-Rock thing. Smirnoff's range is simply quite stunning, the way he soars to those seemingly unreachable, ball-breaking notes with ease and a good dose of campness for good measure. 

If you are after something a bit different, want to be a bit adventurous or even hanker for something a bit quirky and pop-tastic then Privet Earth! could be your next port of call.

Written by Ben Hughes