White Miles – The Duel (2 stars)

Austrian band aren't exactly breaking new ground with this particular grade of driven, dive-bar guitar rock

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White Miles – The Duel

Well, this is quite the reviewer's dilemma: go easy on a band involved in one of the most notorious incidents in the history of live music, or expect something profound from artists caught up in a terrible event, and find yourself disappointed when they offer up an album that only dares to tread water?

Austrian band White Miles were supporting Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan on the night of the Paris terrorist attacks. They'll be joining them again on a mammoth 50-date tour of Europe in support of their second album and, apparently, audiences in France and the Netherlands as well as their home nation have been going wild for this particular grade of driven, dive-bar guitar rock. But here's the rub: not to knock our European cousins' taste in music, but they're not exactly breaking new ground.

Perhaps the partnership between Medina Rekic and Hansjörg Loferer works better on stage, but on The Duel, the pair sound as if they've been stretched too thin. Furthermore, aspects of the record's production (like the chorus of lead single 'Crazy Horse' being sung through a megaphone) and the decision to include box-ticking tracks like 'Coke on a Jetplane' and 'Heid', leave the impression that White Miles are trying a bit too hard to sound like a convincing rock band.

The Duel has been anchored in the shallows between Royal Blood and Savages, but lacks both the hard-rock references of the radio-friendly former and the you've-just-spilled-my-pint glint in the eyes of the latter. Credit where it's due, though, it takes guts to let your drummer record two consecutive monologues. You'd hope, given their time supporting them on tour, that a little of Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes' unpredictability would rub off on Rekic and Loferer. But this second LP finds White Miles fresh out of ideas.

Out now on Long Branch Records.

White Miles

Dive-bar guitar rock from the Austrian duo.

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