Friday, March 05, 2010

'Mind Yer Head': THE LOUNGS "Big Wow"

First things first: the band name. I spent several weeks trying out to figure out how to pronounce The Loungs until I finally alighted on the helpful advice on their website: “Like Young. But with a L”. I was sent a copy of the band’s second album “Big Wow” last December by one Sidney P Walthamstein. Now unless the five-piece from St Helens are now managed from Los Angeles I’m guessing that is not his real name.

The band’s home-town of St Helens lies midway between Liverpool and Manchester, and is most famous for glass-making, rugby league and Johnny Vegas. Historically part of Lancashire, it is now part of Merseyside - and let’s be honest it is hardly the most fashionable of towns. Now The Loungs lean more towards Liverpool for their musical influences - a cheery mix of classic sunshine pop, rich harmonies and fuzz-pop psychedelic trimmings. And like their hometown they are refreshingly free of hipster moves or fadsterism.

First album “We Are The Champ” came out on Manchester’s Akoustik Anarkhy; “Big Wow” is released on their own label Fresh Hair Records. And it’s an invigorating blast of optimistic and jaunty pop. It won’t win awards for breaking new musical ground but it should win a few hearts with its timeless leaving-a-smile-on-your-face good-time tunes and homespun honesty. It doesn’t boast A-list production credits as the band explains "We're just like Radiohead basically....just on the level of The Frank And Walters....but without their budget".

But “Big Wow” contains a myriad of little touches that raise it above the lumpen masses: the uplifting bah-bah-bahs in ‘Honesty Box’, the acapella sections in ‘Mind Yer Head’, the elegance of the strings in 'Jupiter and Mars' or the joyous trumpet playing throughout. Eschewing auto-tune (remember what I said about not following fashions?) instead they also deploy Colin The Robot to simple but effective use:

I was sent the ‘beta’ release in December so some things might have changed for actual release this month - but I sincerely hope not. The album is out on Monday but this Saturday in Manchester there is a FREE entry launch party at Fuel CafĂ© Bar in Withington courtesy of Cloud Sounds. Or “you can get down to St Helens on Saturday where Kaleidoscope Records will exclusively be selling it early for the bargainous prix of £8”. Either way: get ready for a big wow.

The Loungs
Big Wow [BUY]

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