Tuesday, January 10, 2012

STANDARD FARE Out of Sight, Out of Town

What’s in a release date? The sophomore release from Standard Fare was originally slated for 12 December release last year. A home (base) town launch on 2 December followed, it was available digitally direct or via iTunes later that month and reached number 9 in Sweeping The Nation's Top Fifty albums of 2011. But later press announcements gave a more review/consumer friendly release date of 16 January for “Out of Sight, Out of Town”. Or is it 23 January? It matters little and it’s probably no more than a second bite at the promotional apple, but maybe Standard Fare now have the opportunity – deservedly - of finding themselves in two years' worth of End of Year Charts?

Many songs here remain full of escape and leave-takings but “Out of Sight, Out of Town” is no musical departure from 2009's debut "The Noyelle Beat": again punchy indie-pop guitar tunes with a hint of brittle vulnerability behind their formidable feistiness and boy/girl vocals win the day. The settings maybe cafe bars, quiet parks and the dance floor but the real territory mapped out here is the space between people: infatuation, fooling around, emotional turmoil and lust. And in a neat reversal of the dalliances with younger bedfellows on ‘Fifteen’, here we have Emma taunting someone on their age preferences “I hear you’re into older women / do you know what you’re doing?”. The dynamic and mood of each song is often led by the guitars: poppy and carnival-like on ‘Half Sister’, full of chiming regret on ‘Darth Vader’ or languid reflection on ‘Early That Night’. But what sticks in the mind on these first listens are the majority where the guitars buzz angrily (much more angrily than on the debut?) with a serrated-edge rawness.

It’s all delivered with a confident and finely buffered sheen. Many of the titles read like captions from the Jeremy Kyle Show and there’s a lyrical bleakness or at best ambivalence to some songs “you can struggle all you like but we’re destined to die unknown / but the future’s bright, the future’s dead”. Last year’s infectious single ‘Suitcase’ even relates to the Holocaust. However “Out of Sight, Out of Town” overflows with a rambunctious, sexy optimism and a paints a more substantial, detailed and deep picture of modern relationships than the cover’s cartoon town illustration suggests. A power-pop pep-up for whatever winter month it was/is released.

 Standard Fare - Suitcase by Melodic Records

Standard Fare Out of Sight, Out of Town [BUY]

No comments: