Let’s start with the easy bit. “We Don’t Like The People We’ve Become” is the debut album for Gallus, the winners of the Scottish Alternative Music Awards’ Best Rock/Alternative category. And the rest of it? Well, the damn album sounds like it’s got ADHD. “Moderation” kicks off with a maelstrom of punk, but by the first chorus, it’s gone full-on The Strokes. And that’s sort of that.
Then there’s “Fruitflies,” a track that explores mental health but still yearns to inhabit the same arenas as Stereophonics in years to come. However, where Gallus truly excels is in writing from a personal perspective. “Eye To Eye” channels its anger into the hopelessness of joblessness, with Barry Dolan singing, “I want to be a Jack just so I can have a trade.” This rawness echoes the chaotic energy of Sleaford Mods.
These are genuinely impressive indie anthems, and tracks like “Basic Instinct” deserve bonus points for being delivered in their “normal” accents. The best working-class heroes always did that. Craig Duris’s bass anchors “Missiles” in a mid-’90s alt-rock vibe, while “What Do I Know” is a dancefloor-filling gem.
If there’s one word to sum up these 12 songs, it would be “energy.” For a second, you could also add “nervous,” and “Marmalade” embodies both. There’s no preamble here; instead, “Going Numb” and “Are You Finished?” race about. “It would kill me to be disliked by you,” they sing, and so many of these lines could be the slogans on the back of t-shirts.
The album briefly takes a breather with “Mr Nothing” (and by “breather,” I mean it slows down to 85mph and there’s three seconds of acoustic stuff), but its anthemic feel remains anchored in the idea that all of this is for the underdog. “Mixing up Medicine, kill myself, keep on living,” they offer on “Penicillin.” There’s no doubt that this is an exceptionally clever record, a sentiment reinforced by “In Sickness And In Health,” from which the album takes its title.
Gallus is a young band with plenty to say. Even if I can’t necessarily relate to all their experiences, there’s no doubting their skill. “We might crack a smile by album two,” jokes Ewins. I hope he doesn’t. As Therapy? pointed out once, “happy people have no stories,” and Gallus has a full career ahead of them for this kind of rage.