Elliot Baker tries to solve the Common Problem of The Lafontaines, all the while dodging rapid-fire lyrics and riding a brave wave of sound.

The Lafontaines have a lot going for them on their debut effort, Common Problem. They’ve managed to package together a unique blend of musical styles – drawing on the anthem-like choruses of Imagine Dragons and the maverick nature of Rage Against The Machine, the album is carried forward on their own brand of plucky, headstrong energy that Rock music needs more of.

Their sound is also helped by the combination of nationality and style of lyric delivery. Scotland and rap. Have the two ever been mentioned in a paragraph before, let alone a sentence? But like Peter Crouch and football, two things that seemingly just shouldn’t mix somehow manage to produce an intriguing end product.

So what’s the Common Problem?

To put it simply, the sound of The Lafontaines is greater than the sum of its parts.

The melodies and choruses, while packed with spirit, aren’t particularly clever or distinct from one another. The song structures also feel quite archaic – a simple ‘verse/chorus/verse/chorus’ structure starts to wear thin as we make it to the halfway mark.

Then there’s the rap. While the Scottish dialect gives us reason to listen, you can’t help that feel that without it, we simply wouldn’t care too much. There’s not much in the way of wordplay, or hidden meanings in the lines. If you were listening solely for the lyrical aspect of the music, you wouldn’t spend much time with Common Problem.

So yes, The Lafontaines have some work to do – but that aside, if this is your first experience with the band, you will enjoy it. A personal favourite on the record is track two, Too Late. The song builds a suspense, a feeling that something big is about to happen – with a little bit of luck the same could be said for The Lafontaines.

The problems I have with Common Problem don’t need to be solved now. For the moment, we have a solid studio album from an exciting young British band, that gives us reason to be hopeful for their forthcoming efforts.

★★★☆☆