Rafter – Animal Feelings

In essence the LP is packed with big, easy, life-affirming, shiny pop music.

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Unashamed pop music this, slightly in love with itself, at times that little bit too self-conscious and possessing the soft, light voices that are seemingly de rigeur at the moment - but still a lot of fun. However this fun is only available after patiently negotiating the opening two tracks. No Fucking Around, despite the title sounds about as menacing as a cup of tea and slice of cake at Betty’s in Harrogate. I blame the soft voice, which is at odds with the strident thumping that emanates from the rhythm section. It’s okay... Equally as “okay” is the prep-school sing-a-long of A Frame: which has a nice line in sax blurps to redeem the “party music”, (in the Bananarama mould).

Things pick up considerably from hereon in. Rafter’s strength lies in creating simple, effective and very affecting songs, and the first of these on the LP, Timeless Form, Formless Time arrives just in time to give proceedings a boost with a wonderfully caring love song. The chirpy vibe which was slightly annoying in No Fucking Around returns, albeit in a much improved version with Fruit, here the clapping and thumping is a positive influence, reinforcing the track’s existential daftness. Songs about fruit-sharing, c’mon… Rafter have been listening to Clinton, Collins et al as well as Green Gartside, and this is seen in Feels Good; a steamy sensual whisper which never outstays its welcome due to its sunny, laid-back disposition.

In essence the LP is packed with big, easy, life-affirming, shiny pop music. And there’s nothing wrong with that even if things do get a bit silly now and again. Check out the spoken bit in Love Makes You Happy When It’s Not Making You Sad. Or Paper, which manages to be hypnotic and bouncy all at once; (though hypnotic in that the central message – that the singer needs some paper to write “some thoughts” on - are repeated almost ad infinitum). You get the message? Still, however daft, tracks like Never Gonna Die are all set to be big summer songs.  

All in all, a great listen for a sunny day.