"The Nectarine No. 9's Hanging Around/Re-Model (with it's rather risqué chorus of “bring back hanging”; which of course mutates into the line “bring back hanging around”. (I very obligingly included this caveat, just in case you were wondering about the bands views on the penal justice laws)."
Popism – Pocket Raindrops, volume 2
Ah, dontcha just love feel-good indie pop compilations? Especially when they have a cutsey cover showing a Duck-billed Platypus playing with it's young? And even more especially when its got the Fire Engines and Vic Goddard on it too? Quick! Boys and girls! Put your 1940s retro clothes on and get your colouring books ready.
Popism starts off with a fizz; The Nectarine No. 9's Hanging Around/Re-Model (with it's rather risque chorus of "bring back hanging"; which of course mutates into the line "bring back hanging around". (I very obligingly included this caveat, just in case you were wondering about the bands views on the penal justice laws). The Secret Goldish's effort, O Pioneers is pleasant tuneful and possessing enough girly whimsy to have you skipping round the house. Say Jansfield's A Sad Past offers an acoustic path to explore; it's a lovely song with lots of la-la-las sung by girls in the background and mildly uplifting lyrics such as "give the world a go and show us what you know". The Leopards are up next with Rot with Me – words that conjour up some greasy Rockabilly outfit I'm sure. You'd be wrong though. It's more pleasant guitar rock, country-tinged, a la James Kirk. Still, I for one am not complaining. Actually it gets all thrashy and squally by the track's end. Good stuff.
Gareth Sagar's Honeypot Swarm is an engaging if somewhat maudlin meditation. A quiet piano lead is now and again enlivened by a droopy kazoo noise and a down at heel guitar riff. An afternoon boozer's record, that's for sure. King Creosote offer up Homeboy, my absolute fave on this compilation, an earnest though very beautiful Scottish Safety Dance, a melancholy and stately celidh offset by a beautiful refrain and monkish backing vocals. All too soon it's finished. Vic Goddard and his Subway Sect come crashing in with Back in the Void Again, a song remarkably reminiscent of Primal Scream, albeit a Scream sat with their Zimmer frames in an old people's home in Cumbernauld, nicking the other resident's food and giving cocaine to the parrot. It's great. After this divertissement Article 58 proffer forth their song Distortion which has a great Swell Maps style strut about it. Hmm... I was about to say it reminded me of Josef K and guess what? A quick glance at the song's producers reveals that the duties were undertaken by personages no less than Alan Horne and Malcolm Ross! Go to the top of the reviewer class Foster!
Fake Eyelashes' Pentimento/Palimpset is a nice oasis of calm after all the noisy guitar thrashing we've been listening to. It is a very pleasant, harmonious song of melancholy and lost love, and one that disappears far too quickly. Freechord's Meet Me in Milan sounds exactly like one of those wide-eyed dreamboat songs that Roddy Frame or Paul Quinn used to specialize in. The track has a very agreeable sheen to it and just begs for a 1960s style video with cream sports cars striped jumpers and Ray bans a-plenty. This glossy number is countered perfectly by Future Pilot AKA's engagingly messy cover of the O.J's Rip It Up. The original song's 80's crisp and snappy tailoring has been let out and loosened – it's according to the latest fashionable dictates don't you know? Anyway, it's very enjoyable, if somewhat spaced out, maaan... Following up this looseness is Port Sulphur v Colditz feat. Monica Queen (Lordy, what a mouthful) with Tower block; a song which sounds much more mellow than its title. The song's charms are considerable and many. The laid-back arrangements and beautiful vocals are just two of the more noticeable elements in a delicious stew. Phew!
For some unaccountable reason, the beginning of Serf's Five Rounds reminds me of Simple Mind's Factory, but not for long. A very serene voice lilts through a sparsely populated track telling of some private deprivation or other. It is an edgy song, but laced with a winsome quality and augmented by a very simple, somewhat twiddly guitar run that softens everything out. Charming stuff indeed. Lastly it is time for those old stalwarts The Fire Engines with Dischord, and an early live outing by the sound of it. This is one for the oldies to swoon to. There's n point describing the track as I'm sure you all know what it sounds like. Suffice to say it is thrashy, messy and fab. A suitable ending methinks.
Words: Richard Foster.