Standard Fare - Out Of Sight, Out Of Town Album Review
Listen to 'Out Of Sight, Out Of Town' after seeing Sheffield three-piece Standard Fare live and you may be taken slightly aback. Behind the rollercoaster riffs and shrieks that have gained them a dedicated following amongst the indie-pop community, if not far beyond it, lie a wealth of irresistible melodies that are almost indecipherable in their almost-punk on-stage delivery.
Opener 'The Look Of Lust' makes this immediately apparent. It sits closer to the slow-burning and slightly out-of-focus deadpanning of latter-day Walkmen than any of their Anorak brethren, at least until it breaks out into the bridge, with Emma Cooper sighing across a landscape of spring-reverb guitars and lightly brushed cymbals. Her stories tell of lost innocence and disappointment, but with a humour and acceptance, bringing to mind Frightened Rabbit's 'Midnight Organ Fight', even if Emma's subject matter ranges further than booze and profanity and her voice is not quite as wrapped in the hallmarks of her home-town as Scott Hutchinson's highland drawl.
Out Of Sight, Out Of Town is by no means a morose affair, mind. It is rich both in terms of instrumentation and of mood. 'Kicking Puddles' is typical fare (excuse the half pun) for an Indietracks band with its crashing percussion and bouncing trebly guitar lines, and the couplet of 'Bad Temper' and 'Call Me Up', aided by Danny How's equally composed vocals, imitate Ash in the throes of youth with an ode to one night stands.
As it closes with the surf-rock of 'Crystal Palatial' Standard Fare's second full-length again picks up pace, but for a band so ramshackle in person they remain assured on record. Whether this is for better or worse is a matter of preference, but Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind is an enjoyable collection of a dozen hearts-on-sleeves pop gems that may sneakily re-use several ideas, most noticeably the bellowed 'oohs' that punctuate several choruses, but never gets repetitive, and one that puts them on a pedestal above thousands of badge-wearing comparators.