The Golden Virgins, alongside punks The Futureheads, are spearheading the North East's attack on the national scene. Hailing from Sunderland, these are the two breakthrough acts to which the national press has warmed. And The Golden Virgins' debut album, Songs of Praise, is a tangible testament to this.
It's patchy in places, and the breakneck change in tempo from song-to-song reminds me a little of The Vines' Highly Evolved. Using ideas nicked from Badly Drawn Boy (the opening 'Waltz of Praise' is taken from the fade-out of last track, 'I Dont Want No-One But You'). Frontman Lucas Renney's vocals are often too harsh for the sweet indie ballads that he tries to pull off and he does rock better. The erotic sleaze-fest of popular single 'I Am A Camera' recalls a poppier Idlewild and distorted garage-rock riffs. Coupled with the equally tacky 'The Thought Of Her', The Golden Virgins would do well to follow the path laid by these influences.
The pick of the rest is album closer 'I Dont Want No-One But You', just for its sugar-sweet harmonies and the use of a xylophone. 'We'll Never Be Friends' sounds like the classic 'Stand By Me' gone wrong and not one for the downloaders! This said, it's an enjoyable listen and The Golden Virgins are very now, but they've got work to do.