Coin-Op consists of four guys from Brighton who signed to Fierce Panda earlier this year. Described by their label as "art-pop-punk", this is a fairly accurate description of a band that reminded me of Radiohead, Mogwai, The Dirtbombs, Clinic and even Daft Punk at times. For me, only four tracks of Friendly Fire really stand out, the first being Intro, an instrumental number with distant echoes of Mercury Rev and towards the end, a post-Ok Computer Radiohead.
Democratic has a chorus which could have come straight from a Detroit garage, but features a riff during the verse shamelessly stolen from The Dandy Warhols' Bohemian Like You which spoils it for me somewhat. Strangely enough, it was apparently used as the theme to MTV's "The Fridge" show in Europe. Flex sees the band enter more experimental territory and the end product is a two-minute synth-based cracker that sounds like it's inspiration was a Sinclair spectrum computer game and/or Daft Punk.
Only two other tracks are really worth mentioning, the first of which is The Make Up - a potential live favourite with the indie/emo kids. Once again the verse reminded me of Radiohead (but this time an earlier, Pablo Honey-era incarnation) and it employs a powerful, evocative chorus. The second is Play Pen, another cracking instrumental, and also my favourite track. It reminds me of the Scottish post-rockers Mogwai and that's as good a description as any.
Coin-Op have no doubt created a reasonable debut in Friendly Fire. With a few more gems along the lines of Play Pen however, it could have been so much better... 6/10
Reviewed By Adam Booth
6th of September 2002