Skip the Use

Can Be Late

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While the future of Bloc Party continues to remain up in the air thanks to a seemingly never-ending series of contradictory press statements, fans looking for a new fix of angular electro-rock could do worse than to check out Lille quintet Skip the Use's second album, Can Be Late. Produced by Tim Goldsworthy (LCD Soundsystem, Massive Attack), many of its 14 tracks hark back to the energetic indie disco of Silent Alarm, from the propulsive call-and-response of "Mirror" to the trancey post-punk of "The Face," while frontman Mat Bastard's animated tones are a dead ringer for Kele Okereke's anguished yelps. Slightly derivative they may be, but the band are far less enthralling when they venture outside their convincing tribute act territory. "Darkness Paradise" (one of three tracks lifted from their 2011 Sound from the Shadow EP) is a muddy slice of Brit-pop which recalls the indie-landfill acts of the Cool Britannia era, "Bastard Song" is an experimental fusion of squelchy electro, dub wobbles, and riotous riffs which suggests their decision to abandon their earlier punk incarnation was a wise one, and the plinky-plonky "Cup of Coffee" is pure ska-pop by numbers. The attempts to ape the bass-led funk rock of mid-'90s Red Hot Chili Peppers suggest they have two options should they ever choose to enter Stars in Their Eyes, particularly the summery "Ghost," whose infectious children's singalong chorus echoes One Hot Minute's "Aeroplane." Can Be Late couldn't really make the band's influences any more obvious, but while there's nothing new here, it's the kind of lively and immediate record that the indie rock scene across the Channel could do with more of.