Stirring story-so-far set from inspired indieniks
Gathering singles and “bits and pieces” to date (they’re recording a new album with ex-Mary Chain chaps), this cracking collection from the fey provocateurs named after the Meldrew-esque poet is riddled with moments of gentle genius. While their funny, wry words list the perils of being a Soft Lad oop north, the music lulls you into a false burr of tenderness before kicking you in the guts. They’re everything the hideous Belle & Sebastian purport to be, only with the grace and grit to know how to place telling Velvets chords just so. “Slender” and “It’s A Girl’s World” are lovely, but it’s the savage surprise riffs of “My Life As A Car Crash” and the sublime “Give Me A Riot In The Summertime” which convince you they’re muscle as well as brain. All this and “My Perfect Girlfriend”, the entire lyrical content of which is “d ebbie, debbie harry”. A revelation.