The Insect Guide
6ft In Love
(Dead Penny Records)
Leeds music scene: A brief history. The Kaiser Chiefs go global, the likes of The Cribs and The Pigeon Detectives follow suit, members of Forward Russia form Dance To The Radio to put their own and their friends' records out and several other notable labels (On The Bone, Jealous, 48 Crash) emerge as a result.
It's with the latter where the story of The Insect Guide starts. Initially a two-way music and film project for Su Sutton and Stan Howells (nee Noel Bones), their obvious potential was spotted by Choque Hossein, former member of Black Star Liner and esteemed producer in his own right. His main objective was to get the band signed, and subsequently they found themselves added to the 48 Crash roster. Secondly, he needed to get them out and about playing live; only problem was, the majority of their layered sounds had been recorded in a studio as a two-piece and would have to be transposed onto DAT for the live stage, which often arouses suspicion from unsuspecting punters. His next step then, was to create a band around them, so for the first few months of 2007 The Insect Guide became a six-piece.
The only problem was, with an album already recorded the other four additions would be nothing more than hired hands with little or no creative input, ending in a tense atmosphere that saw members leave one-by-one eventually culminating in the relationship between The Insect Guide's founder members and their label breaking down to the point of no return.
Hence the birth of Dead Penny Records. Well, if forming your own label is good enough for Whiskas et al then why not The Insect Guide, and nine months later than initially planned, '6 Ft In Love' finally gets a national release. Fortunately, it was well worth the wait too, as every one of the nine songs contained on this record is a breath of fresh air in its own right.
Sure, the influences are fairly obvious from the word go, as 'Frozen' takes on a 'Recurring'-era Spacemen 3 vibe before giving way to the discordant pop of 'Touch Me', which has elements of both Curve and the Velvet Underground to it. What makes this album even more impressive, and may set the standards fore the future, is the fact that the accompanying DVD actually contains 9 individual films set to each of '6 Ft In Love''s songs, and although there may be a hint of pretence about the whole scenario, no one can deny or criticise the whole concept for being anything less than ambitious.
Still, it's all about the music and although the likes of 'Liline' and 'Green Green' would send shockwaves through radio playlisters Snow Patrolled veins up and down the land, The Insect Guide save the best 'til last. 'David Hero' is quite simply one of the most blissful three minutes these ears have succumbed to this year. Soothing vocals adjoined by a quiet-becomes-loud concerto of reverb and feedback that recalls the likes of Slowdive and the Mary Chain at their most subtle and brutal.
As debut albums go, '6 Ft In Love' ticks all the right boxes and if anything, supports the theory that two's company and anything more than that is simply a crowd. Where they go next even The Insect Guide probably don't know but you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be waiting for them with open arms when they get there.