The Wiltshire quartet’s third album, Pt.1 is free-falling, slightly rough around the edges, jazzy, and, at times, swaggering indie-pop album: In short, it’s quite fun. Its successor Pt.2 pretty much picks up where William Southward (the group’s main architect) and co left off, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
It’s all a bit indie-movie-soundtrack by numbers – sweeping Arcade Fire like instrumentals, high pitch vocal harmonies, actual recorders, motorik rhythms, a childlike wonder, a warm innocence and those summer festival field-friendly melodies draped in a deep nostalgia. Even with a narrative that focuses on mental health issues, it mostly feels a little hollow.
We’re talking strong echoes of Black Kids ubiquitous 2008 hit “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You”. We’re talking about those days when the indie-pop scene kind of melted into this overly sugary dream/scandi/bedroom aesthetic. We loved it then, but we don’t necessarily need that sound back.
Let’s Talk, Pt.2 has a lot of heart to it, but it all feels like it’s just under the surface fighting through the saccharine instrumentals to reach you. Moments like the melancholic and sincere “It Grows”, the quiet anger of “Thunder” and compelling, wild abandon of album closer “Happy Lunacy” save the day.
Put those tracks together with Pt.1 featuring “An Ordinary Life”, “Rain” and “Goodnight England”, and you’ve got a better record than the sum of its parts. As it stands we’re left with two quite fun, oddball pop records that don’t feel like they have the stamina to stay on rotation for any real length of time.