The debut album from the Cheshire four-piece who have caused quite a commotion this year is finally nearly here. Tomorrow, the creators of such hits as Chocolate and Sex which have been rocking up our radios since the spring will drop their first full-length record and my god, is it a good’un!
If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I love bands who stretch themselves and deliver on several different approaches. For a debut album, I’ve never heard something so varied, so unpredictable and so hybrid. We’re treated to pop, indie, pop-punk, R&B, disco, electronica and acoustic on this album and as a result, it’s a beautiful record that will keep giving.
Singles The City, Chocolate and Sex bring the kooky, commercial indie and pop-punk to the table. The City has its chilled, drum-led, pop-rock vibe with a catchy summer air. It also has the same pop-punk vocals as Sex, which sees the band launch into passionate singing and merge synths and tinny guitars in a quirky instrumental. Chocolate has long been a radio favourite and it has a real Kooks-esque style to it. It’s a feel-good song that has a strong pop beat and choral backing vocals, which creates a festival feel.
Eastern-sounding chimes and tones are a common motif on the album and it’s first heard on Talk!, a mellow, drum-backed song with drawling vocals. The catchy refrain is its biggest asset but the instrumental brings the dawn of the exotic wave. It ends up being a pretty mystical song, as is the following An Encounter, a beautiful instrumental which enchants the listener. Again on 12, there is a real whimsical element that leaves behind a magical, ethereal feel. The majority of Menswear also continues this theme with soft clicking and shaking until it warps into a retro pop number, much to everyone’s surprise.
Venturing into R&B on M.O.N.E.Y, the electronica beeps and bounces to singer Matty’s smooth vocals. A funky guitar chimes in and sings along to the toe-tapping slow dance number. Just to throw a bit of a twist, an alien-like voice comes in towards the end in order to keep things unpredictable. Adding a retro spin to things is Heart Out, which has an 80s pop rock feel. The lacing of modern indie vocals with the retro disco atmosphere complete with a funky sax gives it a different edge. The disco continues into Settle Down with its whistling synths and dancing guitar. It’s melodic, feel-good music with groovy instrumentals. However, there is still a touch of cheese for the pop lovers. Retro rears its head again in Pressure, when the sax returns and a 90s boyband influence leaks through. Again, the funky disco riffs make up the core and the atmospheric drones play a supporting role.
Robbers is without a doubt my favourite track. A spacey, electronic intro turns into an atmospheric extravaganza with dark serious vocals and riffs. It’s a very pretty power pop ballad with resonating backing vocals on the chorus. Matty’s vocals are shown to perfection on it and it culminates in a beautiful result. Passionate, powerful and perfect for a live show. Another favourite of mine is definitely Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You, which is a beautiful piano ballad with so much emotion. It’s completely stripped back and raw with haunting, heart-rending vocals. Sure, it’s a heavy way to end an album but it fades out beautifully, leaving you wanting to start again.
It’s possibly the most varied album I’ve ever heard. I love that you never know what to expect from the next track and that they’re not just a one-trick-pony. No doubt this will be a hugely successful album and their fans will be able to see them try out and succeed at a multitude of musical styles.