Secretly an Astronaut EP
Hairy Wolf Records
Release Date: 24th March
As this EP, the first thing I've heard by Hairy Wolves signing Mount Fabric, kicked off, I couldn't help but think of John Murphy's 'In the House/In a Heartbeat' from the film 28 Days Later.... that's not a bad thing at all, just kind of random. Anyway, the track ('Coping With Belief') quickly resolves into something pretty solidly on the oddball side of post-rock-pop, with falsetto vocals set against a gentle paced rhythm section. By the time the vocals distort and the track climaxes, I've already decided that I like this band.
Track two, 'Big Plans', ups the tempo somewhat; it reminds especially of Hoggboy, at least when they weren't being post- britpop crap and being post-grunge awesome instead. Other touchstones might be pre-Showbiz Muse or (if I'm to further plumb the name-dropping of cult unsigned bands) Fin Raziel; in fact, now I think about it, they even sound a little like a more poppy Connectingflight. Shit me, I'm on obscure reference overdrive. Quickly, stop me before I reach critical critic density and meltdown.... dammit, this is why I shouldn't have three cups of tea and then be let loose on my keyboard. What was I saying? Oh yeah, that it's good. Really good, actually, and there's something in the mix that I haven't quite nailed yet. Down on the Upside Soundgarden? Fuck. Blur? Maybe.
Right, so the final track is Blur-esque, my scatty day nonwithstanding; it's got that same playful approach to melody and appropriation of the post-Pavement US indie scene, even if the vocals have now gone fully from Jonsi to Stuart Warwick. Actually, you know, I will stand by that; I was going to make a lazy comparison to Yorke/Bellamy, but yeah, STUART WARWICK is the voice I was thinking of.
All in all, it's a highly listenable, pleasantly left-of-centre EP that shows a band trying their best not to get pigeonholed, and succeeding to a great degree. Though vocally impressive, I was never totally wowed by the instrumentals, though it should be said that there's a strong approach to melody and pacing, and the production values throughout are simply exceptional.
JAMES! JAMES! THAT is the band I was thinking of. Fuck, sorry, this review has been all over the place, even by my standards. Yeah, kind of like a less-britpop-more-post-rock version of James with a better singer and a little less inclined towards facile 'singles' style music. Just look it up for yourself, ok?
I think this is genuinely the longest review I've ever done for a three track EP. That HAS to be a compliment. "Lap it up, fuzzball", as Han Solo would say.