The Fresh & Onlys - Long Slow Dance (****)
The quartet’s second remarkable quality is that they can recall so many others (The Go-Betweens, The Beach Boys and REM all waltz into earshot) without rendering themselves redundantly over-familiar. This is, as promised upfront in the band name, a fresh sounding record, despite the obvious echoes of past practitioners. Small flourishes (like the horns of Executioner’s Song) produce significant ripples, while even at their most straightforward (such as on No Regards’ unadulterated pop), they prove utterly endearing.
Deerhoof - Breakup Song (****)
While the syncopated polyrhythms present a challenge, dancing is encouraged by the title track’s juddering melody and the samba horns of The Trouble With Candyhands, while Zero Seconds Pause sees Satomi Matsuzaki extend a more direct invitation (“Now I am going dancing / If you would care to join me?”). To paraphrase another track title, Deerhoof Do Parties, and they do it well. Unburdened by rules or expectations, they remain free to be themselves unreservedly, to everyone’s benefit.
Out 24th September
Jim Noir - Jimmy's Show (***)
Luckily, Noir balances the clangers with expert musicianship: he plays almost every note himself, evidencing his quirk-pop expertise most proficiently on the likes of The Tired Hairy Man with Parts (which starts out a sugar-spun harmonic meander, before nimbly tipping into something more Kinks-y), and shimmying highlight The Cheese of Jim’s Command. Inspired moments outnumber slumps, meaning that even at its silliest, Jimmy’s Show remains enjoyable.
Out 17th September