I wonder if ITGWO is about that bakfietsmoeder/woolly jumper /perfect teeth/artisan bread festival on a Dutch island? Hmmm.
Now, Amber Arcades are NOT really a bar band, I saw this lot play as a duo and a full band; all three times in bars. Weird. But instructive, in that seeing them live in less than auspicious circumstances made me realise that Amber Arcades are tougher than they sound. There’s this multifaceted, make do and mend side to them that is very winning and adaptable; and a cheeky side, too, that is just about discernable on this, their début EP.
First things first though. This is soft, sensitive girl pop that (luckily) escapes the moniker singer songwriter by a hairsbreadth. Given my use of that terrible word, “sensitive” here, you’d also be forgiven in thinking that the lyrical content could be yet another take on the wishy washy, over emoting pish that records like this usually “boast”, but it's not. Actually, the lyrics and band’s worldview in general are impish and fairly direct, and sometimes have this very catchy quality. It helps that the singer is smart enough to balance these rhyming couplets on rising vocal lines; which makes the whole thing very hummable. The sort of thing corny old balladeers like John Denver did to great effect.
Musically they know how to balance their sound pretty well; A Better Lover is the sort of thing that you’d think would be really bloody annoying, (no, please, we don’t want to be “better” or more “in tune with ourselves” etc., etc., ad nauseum) but the percussive stabs in it, and the weird way that the beat seems to be dislodged from the melody make it interesting. And the last track, WWWW, is lovely; balancing on this shimmering, aqueous guitar gauze, and really benefitting from this steady, comforting piano part.
So what do we think? Well; although at first go you could think it is a standard girl pop record and nothing out of the ordinary, (the sort of thing people drink HERBAL INFUSIONS to) they’ve got something interesting. Something that is only just emerging, or isn’t really fully developed; but in the right hands, or driven to distraction by a decent whip hand, something that could soundtrack a David Lynch movie. Also, I wonder if ITGWO is about that bakfietsmoeder/woolly jumper /perfect teeth/artisan bread festival on a Dutch island? Hmmm.