I'll bet they all read F. Scott Fitzgerald fastidiously.
Great title huh? The cd also boasts a great cover of someone falling down some stairs. Cool! I'm excited! Even the press release got me interested with its talk of hand clapping, screaming and frenetic jumping...I'm all for that.
Onto the music.
There's a hell of a thump to this record, given the prominent drums strident organ playing and 'up close and personal' lyrics, coupled with that intensely teenage "Love Me Do" sentiment. I'll bet they all read F. Scott Fitzgerald fastidiously; its obvious (to me any way) in all those moonlit sentiments.
Actually, and despite its sometimes deliberate quirkiness, this is a record that in some ways follows the long and honourable American guitar pop tradition. Its very much tipping its titfer at the Modern Lovers, Big Star and the Velvets. Loads of stuff you've heard echoed down the years, boy meets pretty girl, falls in love with her and stands outside her window in the darkness... Its actually very affecting left field pop, though the arrangements and the dynamics expressed in the music ensure it's not the sugary listen I thought I was going to get. I'll give you some examples.
"In Green" is a desperate lament, the choppy guitars only echoing the churning love anguish. I think the girls' gone, man. "Fisticuffs" is about the taxing problem of wanting to hit someone you don't like, (maybe a love rival) but finding yourself hamstrung by the knowledge that you are a morally superior intellectual being, so hitting is passe right? Don't think Im taking the piss, its so affecting in a 19 going on 20 year old way. It makes me want to laugh (like the old cynic I am) but at the same time it reminds me of those feelings that used to cut me up when I was A DOLEFUL KID.
"New Brad" and "Shouting Across the Water" are the lp's highlight, a heavy and brazen guitar riffs compliment the lost love lyrics perfectly. There are moments of experimentation, "Overture", "Echo Park" and "Goodbye Casio" are all short, interesting vignettes.
There are also oddly titled tracks to note; "Firebombing London" is an affecting casio riff quite at odds with its moniker, and as for "Byron's 24th Birthday", well that is merely a song title that gives no clue to the meandering sadness of the music. As a result these tracks lose some of their musical punch. Hmm, a case methinks of welding title and song together with no idea of the consequences...
Still I was excited by it, despite it being a record made by and for Young People in Love. I reckon it is a fair debut.
Words: Richard Foster