Release date: 18/10/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon Stream: Spotify Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Topman... London three-piece Union Jackals’ debut sees them taking their cues from the tail end of Britpop and accessible, radio-friendly electronic music. In this respect they certainly know how to craft a song, but plundering the indie-drift of, say, Ian Brown, causes some problems. Problems like allowing your songs to limply wither away, happy that you’ve done enough for now. This isn’t to say the album is totally bereft of guitar-lead choons. ‘Open Skies’ sways along like one of the Cribs less urgent numbers; the defiantly straightforward ‘Press Reset’ has its melody on show like a flasher; and the gentle ‘I Am the Sun’ shimmers with its acoustic simplicity. Yet these are few and far between as the majority of the album ploughs a steady indie field. ‘Afterlife’ is standard fare which is just about salvaged by some soaring guitar and ‘Analogue Star’ is a merry-go-round of 90s pop references. Elsewhere there are some baffling moments. Largely pointless atmospheric interludes are sprinkled here and there for seemingly no other reason than to prove they’ve listened to a bit of Brian Eno, whilst songs ‘The Red Channels’ and ‘The Spaceship Dream’ are frustratingly daft (the latter includes a theramin which must mean they’re well zany, this lot). Whilst there is clearly something resembling ambition here, the band seems unclear of what they actually are. Whilst a schizoid collection of songs can often showcase a band’s influences, these reference points are usually drawn together to create a coherent whole. This is not the case here. Just plain inconsistent, Universal Screenplay is a maddeningly unpredictable set of songs but one feels there is hope yet for Union Jackals. 6Photobucket