And the watchwords here are consistency and space. Across these ten tracks the three-piece deliver what they term “austerity rock,” lyric driven, immediate and memorable songs with both elbow room and bite. Taking leaves from musical books as disparate as The Police, The Liberty Horses (remember them?) The Icicle Works, Squeeze and a whole raft of post-punk underground pop, they manage to offer up songs that have an understated majesty, a clean limbed directness and musically economical and as an album it is all the better for it.
When they do make a break for chart territory, as with All Eyes and particularly lead track, Send The Boats, the results are excellent, but often it is the more subdued album tracks that inform about the nature of the band. Wistful and gloriously dreamlike, Winter Song is one of those slow burning highlights, The Hateful Mob would have been the jewel in the new wave crown and Something’s Gotta Give has more than a hint of a mature XTC about it.
The often-sparse musical form means that the lyrics are trust into the spot light and quite rightly too, as the words here are works of great beauty in their own right. Although loosely a concept album, based on front man Nick Powell’s time spent in Nova Scotia, it is better described as an album of concepts, recurring themes of loss, failure, maritime imagery and rebirth all poeticised in lines that are quirky, heartfelt, soaring, pointed and poignant.
It is music that is at the same time both jubilant and melancholic, wonderfully out of step with modern fashion lacking both postmodern irony and, more importantly, the right trousers. This however is an album, and a band, which may not reach the dizzy heights of fame and short-lived adulation but will end up being one of those cited by singers and song – writers for years to come.
No related posts.