I've spent so much time recently sulking about the demise of The Chasms that, I have to admit, I'd forgotten for a while the other excellent band who hail from the Isle of Man. They're called Postcode and they've just released their best record yet.
Inspired by the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals, their ZebrATP EP is now available from the band's bandcamp site. It's sees this already fine combo taking the kind of leap in quality you never know a group has in them until it happens. With this release, Postcode have gone from an extremely likeable indie pop band to purveyors of the most glorious music of its kind I've heard this year. I've talked elsewhere about indie rediscovering its radical edge in recent years, and this collection might be to 2013 what the Tender Trap album was to 2012.
What astonishes most about the release is its range. This collection of seven songs is not merely a batch of mid-tempo indie rockers. Opener 'Reds' has a caustic brilliance that the band will return to in the storming 'Pavilion Song'. Sandwiched between them is the gorgeous, meditative 'Fairy Hill', complete with electric piano. And we're not even half way through the EP. The overriding feeling I get after listening to the whole collection is to ask myself whether that was really just seven songs. So much is packed into the EP's tender frame that you feel you've experienced almost a double album's worth of material compressed into less than half an hour. Closing track 'Goodbye Minehead' on its own comes out like an epic finale despite falling short of the 4.30 mark and has a plaintive brilliance that would enhance any festive fifty.
In fact, I've probably made a mistake reviewing the EP as a whole. Each song deserves to be appreciated in its own right, considered and, if you will, dissected as the slab of classic indie it unquestionably is. I'll leave you to do that yourself. You can get a copy of one of the records of the year here. It's name your own price as a download or just three quid to get a CD with bonus track.
I'm playing the sublimely energetic-yet-fragile 'Sunfield' in my Dandelion Radio show in April, streaming from today and at various times during the month. It's the shortest track on the EP but seems to last for ages, perhaps because I keep putting it on repeat.