IT ISN’T OFTEN that Porky becomes excited about a new band (you’ve noticed?!?!) but here’s an exception, in the form of a sprightly English band called Towns from a faded seaside town called Weston-super-Mare. It seems Paul Weller would concurr too. And the NME, which went overboard, in its own inimitable way, by declaring Towns as the best new band of 2011 on the back of a demo tape. A dodgy booking agent and record label shenanigans nearly killed them off, but here they are, in 2014, releasing their debut album, Get By (Howling Owl records).
Get By doesn’t fit in with the terribly pompous and, quite frankly, staid British music scene of the moment. For one thing, there’s a bit of a swagger about them; not for them the mean and moody look, with songs about lost love and how their beard is growing because they’re too miserable to trim it. There’s a lot of guitars, and effects, and yes that old chestnut, shoegazing is being trotted out by lazy, hazy journalists. Is it 1990 all over again? Well yes, to an extent but it could also be 1967.
Heads Off reminds me of early-era The Charlatans without the Hammond organs; but the band they sound most alike are a little-known outfit called The Telescopes, who went from a scuzzy leather-trousered mob to mangled indie dance-pop act, and were one of its finest protagonists, though they largely went unnoticed at the time. Hell, there’s even a hint of My Bloody Valentine in the opening riffs of Get Me There, but James MacLucas sounds nothing like Kevin Shields, in fact, I would imagine him doing a good impression of a hyperactive child when they perform in Leamington Spa or Harlow. And then you have Gone Are The Days, full of the kind of effervescent psych-pop that bands like The Horrors and Toy are trying to perfect, but Towns have an energy about them that befits such a manic, frenzied track.
There’s plenty of influences here, and reviewers have been caught up listing all the shoegazing/ baggy bands that were around a quarter of a century ago. And yeah, I have been a bit guilty of this myself, but it is quite hard to bypass the sounds that I last heard in 1992 on Blur’s Popscene. But regardless of this, Towns are something else, they marry it all in one glorious soup of an album. Production wise it may be slightly hindered and once they get some money behind them, and realise where they want to to, I can see Towns progressing to the cities.