The Rosebuds: "Hold Hands And Fight"


By Scott Reid | 9 January 2008

Almost two years ago, CMG begged the Rosebuds: please, better choruses.

A year passes, they release an EP called The Rosebuds Unwind, and we almost beg them again, except that 20 minutes of bland pop-rock isn't the kind of muse you might think it might be. Short story even shorter, I got about this far into the review's notes before finally giving up, figuring that: a) the Rosebuds were heading through a severe stylistic crisis that just happened to be documented and released; and b) it was a transition no one would really want to read about. Or hear, for that matter. The EP struggled to find a sound, let alone a melody, leaving expectations for their upcoming full length, Birds Make Good Neighbours, awfully low.

But then the record actually arrives, and it becomes clear that they either kept the retro-folk/rock filler for the EP or just managed to regain their focus in the process of tossing it off. Not that they've managed to finally make a consistent record in the process, but the pieces are all there for its better tracks, most of which are conveniently kept to the album's first side. "Hold Hands and Fight" opens the record, and variations of its sound monotonously follow: a soft, piano/organ/chorused guitar arrangement with subtle percussion, Ivan Howard's kind-of-British-but-not vocals lightly harmonized until an upbeat wordless chorus (which, unlike many others on the record, contains a strong hook, so savour it) kicks in and repeats.

Ok, so there's not a whole lot to the song; it's kind of simple and short and repetitious in a beautiful Kill the Moonlight kind of way, except a little less haunting and more outrightly romantic ("We get by, and we brace ourselves and we hold hands and fight!"). But for a band that had almost dropped the ball completely with their last EP, an effective/moving two-and-a-half-minute "woahhh-woahhhh-woahh" pop track is more than enough comfort, and exactly the kind of direction they needed to take. Now, uh, about the rest of these choruses...