Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Standard Fare - Out of Sight, Out of Town

I haven't posted much in the last week. This is not because I'm getting bored of posting, but rather because I've been listening to a few new albums that I've acquired in the post-Christmas, early new year lull. They're mainly albums that I've missed out on over the last year, and one of them is so good that I've decided to review it for you.

Out of Sight, Out of Town is the second album from Sheffield Indie-popsters Standard Fare. The album was released under the radar just before Christmas and so did not get enough of a listen to feature in any of the reviews of 2011, but after pretty heavy rotation on the Schönberg decks, I would maybe like to re-do my top albums of the year.

Not unlike Standard Fare's first album 'The Noyelle Beat' this album is full of whimsical indie pop, reminiscent of the 'C86' movement in the late eighties. In fact, the first song, 'The Look of Lust' is very much in the vein of "life's a riot" era Billy Bragg, a slow-burning start before the indie floor-filler that could be 051107. It is with this song that you realise that this second album marks a step up for Standard Fare - gone (but not forgotten) is the DIY, jam-in-the-bedroom production to be replaced by something so much more produced. This could be the breakthrough...

The real allure for me is Emma Kupa's (Cooper?) vocals. I would describe her sound as always on the edge, be it the edge of a scream, or breaking down into tears, but always evoking emotion as she sings tales of relationships and love and loss. And when her voice is accompanied by guitarist Danny How, then the clash is fantastic. Dead Futures is a great example, the chorus of 'b.. b.. b.. bite my tongue' and the bouncy melodies is akin to an edgy Belle and Sebastian. Emma's vocals can be mellow and soothing too - the low-key "Darth Vader" has her consoling over what must be a U2-inspired bass and drum beat (well, it sounds an awful like '40' to me).
So, all in all a great many really catchy indie pop tunes in there, in fact I'm amazed that they haven't already been booked to support The Wedding Present later this year when they tour the 21st anniversary of 'Seamonsters'. This album shows Standard Fare's graduation from their under-produced, quirky first album (which was incidentally also very good) to indie mainstream hopefuls. There's a new movement of C86-style whimsical indie pop coming, and Standard Fare will be right at the forefront.

051107 by Standard Fare

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