Today’s Song of the Day is Kid Canaveral’s cover of King Creosote’s song Missionary, because they emailed it to me, but also because it’s a cool video. The footage is all from Home Game festival by Forest of Black.
Weirdly enough I’ve thus far ignored Come On Gang! – not for any reason in particular, I’ve just been too lazy to check them out. This unprofessionalism lingers no more, because the clever clogs took matters into their own hands and sent yours truly an advance copy of their excellent debut album. Not heard of them, still? Think The Jessie Rose Trip, think Kid Canaveral. (This can serve as a caveat on all future reviews: if you want me to listen to your band, then don’t wait around for me to google you by chance, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)).
And now, to Strike A Match – super strength, pure pop-fuelled high grade music. Opening with the anthemic Coffee Shop, it’s an extremely pleasing listen; mixing Ting Tings-esque catchyness and Magic Numbers’ ear for a riff, the band are a full-bodied indie pop blend. Diligent listeners will also notice the similarities with The Cribs on Red Thread, and the Two Door Cinema Club-reminiscent Wheels, though it’s condescending to compare such a good band with another: Sarah Tanat-Jones’ voice could easily go toe-to-toe with Florence Welch.
From the album as a whole, the standout tracks for me are the chirpy This Familiar Road, the punk swagger of Fan The Flame and the final track, Start The Sound. The band’s bio tells of a singular manifesto pledge: to play music you can dance to. I can’t remember the last time I heard an album from a Scottish band with this much energy, this much boundless excitement, and it’s very much a pity that this is the first and last album we’ll hear from them; I bet there’s even better stuff bouncing around their brains.
You can get the album from the 12th of February onwards from iTunes, etc – the launch gig, and the last chance to see Come On Gang! live will be the same night, at Pilrig St Paul’s Church, on Leith Walk.
Some media quotes:
"Brittle, incandescent power pop to crash small cars to: like Beth Orton fronting Television – utterly addictive." The List
"Come On Gang! are the kind of band that leads scenes rather than follow them – Top 20 bands to see at T in The Park." The Scotsman
"Unsigned Heroes – a future national anthem" BBC Radio One
“Come on Gang play joyous indie with singer Sarah owning an unusually out of place voice – an absolute pleasure to hear.” Huw Stephens
"ECA trio Come on Gang! boast quite the piece de resistance in drummer/vocalist Sarah Tanat Jones, whose sweetly rendered yet gymnastic turns add a genuine touch of ethereality to some admirably tight punk pop." The Skinny
So this is my “best of” Sneakyfest, the one-day festival that was held yesterday. Well, when I say “best of”, I mean “the ones I was on time for”. Ha.
Kid Canaveral were the band I most wanted to see, since I’d been reading and hearing lots of nice, buzzy things. Ironically, I hadn’t realised that I’d seen them live already – for free, at Teviot in Fresher’s Week. Aren’t I an incompetent sausage. Any road, they were great, their set was well executed, tidy and the crowd enjoyed it (when I say ‘crowd’ I mean the 6-8 people standing in the middle of the dancefloor out of pity. It wasn’t the bands fault, they were first on, on a snow-day). David MacGregor’s knack for a catchy chorus is ripe for indie stardom, his sweetly optimistic lyrics and full-bodied vocals driving the fast-tempo jaunty guitar riffs, like a more radical Hot Club de Paris. Then again, as neat and professional as their set was, this was just another gig; twenty minutes, then the next band came on; you couldn’t help feel a lack of connection with (the admittedly, small) audience.
Trapped Mice were more impressive, quite simply because they tried harder*. They play straight-down indie pop, but with the incisive, deliberate lyrics of Neutral Milk Hotel and the playful rock sensibilities of an Aha Shake Heartbreak-era Kings of Leon (for the uninitiated: before they were rubbish). The band at times leant towards the shoegaze habit of standing still whilst playing their songs, but this seemed to stem more from being completely focused on making the music perfect, rather than some ironic-indie counterculture attitude to life. Indeed, on signature songs like Secret Letters, the lead singer didn’t just strum his guitar, he abused it – hammering out the crescendo like a hound set loose on the hunt. Whilst the aforementioned track illustrates a taste for the Arcade Fire school of big choruses, songs like The Priest and The Boy, and A Brief Introduction to Modern History show a more delicate approach, with deeper folk influences revealing a shared bloodline with Bright Eyes. Their EP is available on their bandcamp page.
My final pick from the event is A Fight You Can’t Win, an alternative grunge act with an edge of desperation and a handful of raucous songs. Their best track seemed to be Sitting Bull, a fist-pumping bass-heavy cruise missile of rock; the antidote, surely, to the war crime against music that was the X Factor’s “rock night” – though make sure to check out Oren Rath and Send. They take a fair amount of inspiration, vocally and melody-wise, from both Pulled Apart By Horses and Australian Black Sabbath groupies Wolfmother – the latter’s melodramatic, bared-teeth singing and the former’s crunching, explosive guitar. The audience, packed into the tiny venue that is Sneaky Pete’s bar loved every minute.
*Something about unsigned bands just makes them play that little bit better – maybe it’s because every gig might be their last?
Rating: Kid Canaveral DDD, Trapped Mice DDDD A Fight You Can’t Win DDD