“The best post-punk band to come out of Britain since Bloc Party”, proclaims the press release. Look, in my opinion, !Forward Russia! were trading in spheres somewhere far outside Bloc Party, and even my beloved Futureheads. Lacking the remix friendly hidden dancebanger- epicness of the former, and the buttoned-down barbershop quirkiness of the latter, they trade in the kind of truly spiky, terrifying post-punk that would have alienated anyone who wasn’t turned on by the sound of Television and Joy Division in a washing machine with a cattle-prod up their arses and joined by a fucking pissed off posse of electrocuted tomcats. The slew of early demos from EP Numbers were yelped, shrieked machine gun staccato guitars and anything-goes revolutionary clatter that brought to mind the frenetic energy of Transmission and Stiff Little Fingers. All that’s in the past tense. When the promo showed up this afternoon, I grabbed it with jealous fingers and scuttled from the office before anyone could say “hey, what’ve you…oh, it’s another NME jizz-rag…never mind.” Two hours and three listens later, I was kind of deflated. To be honest, it’s every bit as catchy, clever and angular as the two aforementioned bands. It’s pure stabbing rhythm, banshee vocals and perfect, perfect dance music cleverly disguised as punk-funk glory straight from the loins of the Gang of Four. So what is there for me to upset about then? Really, it’s hard to pin down, and it is something more than a pathetic fear that ‘other people’ might catch on to ‘my find’. It’s more that the incendiary mayhem, the rawness and the blazing intensity of Tom’s wails have been neatly and ever so discreetly filed off to from something that is without doubt a more perfect whole, just one that’s a whole lot less exciting.