The Party's Over...
Anna C reviews some fashionably late sounds.


ISAACS AIRCRAFT- Two is a crowd

Cambridge-based Isaacs Aircraft have already had a Top 30 indie single and a Top 10 US internet college radio hit (try saying that in a hurry). They describe themselves as multi-instrumentalists whose sound is constantly evolving. You might also be amazed to know that ‘Two is a crowd’ was recorded in only two days, Callum taught himself to play guitar, and IA have supported The Zutons and won a fan in Miss Amy Winehouse (though she is not exactly here to corroborate that fact anymore, now is she?). So, why does this acoustic full-length offering -(so produced because the lads didn’t have enough money to record an electric record)- sound like Robbie Williams rogering a weeping Ben Folds?

Still, anyone that claims not to have ‘Bum bum bum bum/Bum bum bum bummmmmmm’-ed along to ‘Road to Mandalay’ is a LIAR and a likeable ‘Too many kiss’ is just one example of a song that can’t help but appeal to the melodic cheese fanatic, i.e. me. I gleefully have all sorts of ‘crap’ on my Ipod (my other half’s words, not mine), as I believe in a broad appreciation of music (honest!). Music snobs, ye be damned. As autumn approaches, I too have been pondering the question to divide all music lovers: do I want the moves like Jagger? As my little brother says, Jagger moves like he’s itching for a skag-induced, er, poo (my words, not his). Regardless, my answer is a resounding yes; Maroon 5 have created greatness yet again and one finds that there are not enough hits with computerised whistling in. And I’m not ashamed to say that I prefer them to Isaac’s Aircraft. Take from that what you will.

In all seriousness, I would have kept the detail of diminished funds to myself; though the fact could show commitment in the face of adversity, it also demonstrates a naivety in that ‘Two is a crowd’ is a half-finished version of what might be an otherwise impressive record, a record that another less half-arsed band might have starved to produce if they believed in it enough. Beginning with a cheerful piano-led ‘My baby did me wrong’, whilst Isaac’s Aircraft’s upbeat enthusiasm is appealing enough, it completely lacks in charisma. Impressive to fans of soulful pop, there are moments during tracks like ‘Good man’ that mirror carefree Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz yet are ruined by an immature lyrical content (‘Daddy gonna be a good good man for you’), ‘Friends and foes’ continuing the formula inspired by the Take That/Robbie reunion, as in it seems all a bit forced and, ultimately, heartless. I reckon a second-job and subsequent re-release would be an idea. Bum bum bummmmmmmmm indeed.

Released 4th July, 2011.

KING POST KITSCH- The Party’s Over

This review is late again. But what does it really matter these days? A band can still be discovered fifty years down the line and end up in the charts. And would King Post Kitsch actually even want that kind of success anyway? From hearing ‘The Party’s Over’, it’s difficult to tell. Brainchild of sound engineer, Charlie Ward, and created in Glasgow via London, while these locations may be far-removed geographically, their respective musical scenes are well combined in an album that is both an antidote to the manufactured music industry and, in contrast, a pop/rock victory. Though gone are the days of sickly sweet ‘Teen-C pop’, KPK still acknowledge fellow Scots, Bis, in an infectious energy, yet with an understated Southern elegance, denying that the party is over at all- it’s just different and more grown up.

Not that this is a soundtrack for sipping wine with smug married couples. Instead, it has many qualities to reminisce of mid ‘90’s indie discos when the shindig was in full swing. In chugging album opener, ‘Portland Street Pt. 2’, it could easily be the Dandy Warhols lazily strumming away, before jumping into the devastatingly grungey ‘Don’t you touch my fucking honeytone’, merging a typically Glaswegian punk style with some gratifying American influences. Upbeat spiky guitars drive dirty Weezer-esque tempos (‘Brick and Bones’ and ‘You talk too much’), whilst ‘Fante’s Last Stand’ and ‘The new gang’ add variety with pretty instrumentation and shimmering indie-rock melodies, also borrowed from 60’s garage (‘The werewolf bop’) and even The Kinks (‘Walking on eggshells’) and The Beatles in final track ‘Closing time’. Catchy songwriting is therefore obviously the order of the day; ignoring the few attempts to be more experimental but drearily dying on their arse, KPK’s general simplicity and unpretentious enthusiasm means I like them very much. You say ‘hooray’.

Released 13th June 2011 through Song, By Toad Records.

PAUL HEGLEY- Fallen angel

Paul Hegley has been playing guitar since the age of ten, first starting to perform with his Uncle John, including a couple of times at Glastonbury a few years ago. Not bad for a boy from Bedfordshire. And it is with this in mind that ‘Fallen Angel’ should be listened to, an obvious love of music driving a collection of songs that are therefore transformed from something initially amateur and less remarkable to those more worthy of respect, if nothing else.

Refreshingly natural, Hegley’s enjoyment of what he does is infectious through jaunty tunes such as opening track ‘I’m ok’, whilst showcasing a distinctive British vocal and accomplished guitar work during the melodic reggae of ‘Weekend haze’ and ‘Bricklayer blues’. Giving thanks to the modern indie of The Kooks on ‘Best room’ or a more sober Peter Doherty on ‘Bar la treille’, ‘Fallen Angel’ also features a cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Master Blaster’ and, groan you might, but what isn’t groundbreaking here is utterly charming. Simply put, the UK music scene needs artists like Paul Hegley to remind us that what is most important is a pure self-belief, less attitude and more talent. If you don’t at least tap a toe to this, then you are either deaf or dead.

THE WIND-UP BIRDS- Meet Me at the Depot/Popman


The third single from Leeds’ self-professed ‘super-literate postpunk genii’ doesn’t interest me at all at first. It’s sloppily played and rhymes ‘belly’ with ‘telly’. So what? Indeed, so what? The Wind-Up Birds are, it seems, a stark reminder that not every turd has to be polished to be loved. Or something. Because, as ‘Meet me at the depot’ gets played for a second and third time, what isn’t perfect about it becomes obsolete in the face of its endearing passion, a passion shared with all the best punk outfits of the late 70’s, so taken as influences by the beloved Graham Coxon for his early efforts, that he nicked from The Replacements and that were, in turn, nicked by The Libertines for their own remake of British songwriting. Upbeat, punchy and so grabbing the attention of old Steve Lamacq, TW-UB are a band that make a desperate promise yet promise nothing, romantic undertones subtle in a melodic post-punk grave. Go forth and download. Now.

Released 27th June, 2011.

Anna C