What makes this record much more enjoyable than listening to the slew of arty guitar-based records that seemingly come out on a conveyor belt from the States is that this one has wit and personality.
You know sometimes you really can’t beat growly scuzzy guitars: and hearing them played on a record full of cheek, wit and personality a record such as this one is akin to finding the oasis at the end of a barren journey.
It’s pop, nothing new, sixties tinged: but you can be bowled over by the aplomb & bravura shown in the first three tracks. The opener Portland Street has a touch of Syd Barrett about it, a delicate whispering vocal that does battle with a fuzzy guitar, all topped off with some reedy, flute-like synth noises. Don’t You Touch My Fucking Honeytone sounds like a basement band covering Echo and the Bunnymen’s Do it Clean, or a growling rewrite of The Seeds’ Mr Farmer. It’s so much grubby fun I keep playing it over and over again. Then we get deep into Barrett-Hitchcock-Cope territory with the hypnotic acoustic reverie of Fante’s Last Stand. This is a brilliant change of pace and belies this band’s confidence. They sound so assured on this record.
What makes this record much more enjoyable than listening to the slew of arty guitar-based records that seemingly come out on a conveyor belt from the States is that this one has wit and personality. I believe that they are singing about something that affects them and I believe they sing their songs with conviction. I enjoy the vibe and images they create from their songs. I could (if pushed) believe human beings made this record. I could dance to the brilliant You Talk Too Much.
This record also has confidence; it wears its influences on its sleeve and is fine about it. Whether The Werewolf Hop and Walking on Eggshells is a classic slice up of The La’s or The Kinks or The Faces or The Seeds, or whether The New Gang is Donovan arisen again actually not that important. It’s how you pull that stuff off, in the here and now. And how you make people happy by doing it.