Friday, 13 April 2018

Baker Island - Always, 1995 (Philophobia)


There's always something about the sound of Baker Island that manages to combine the new and familiar, which I suppose is the chief reason why they stand out from the many outfits working in an indie pop idiom.  The new EP works off that premise to give us 'Always, 1995' - the triumphant final track from last year's Restless Legs album - alongside three previously unreleased tunes
 
What makes this Newcastle band a consistent delight is their ability to take a central indie pop motif into interesting new places and the three new tracks here are no exception.   The screeching, rusty nail on metal opening to 'Badly Assembled Focus Group' is the gateway into a majestic piece of guitar pop.  It's followed by the brief, chiming 'Stretch Model' before the EP's finale 'Low Cost Locust' offers a straight fist-fight between pop melody and discordant noise.  Despite that, they somehow work off a template that appears to owe very little to early JAMC or MBV while still crafting something wonderful.
 
Although it's been around for some time, it's the title track that I've chosen to feature in my Dandelion Radio show this month, purely for the reason I usually select tracks for the show: it's so good and it worries me that people might not get to hear it.  If you missed it first time around, consider it also a reminder that you should also get round to checking out Restless Legs while you're about it.
 
It's available in cassette form from Wakefield's Philophobia label, though last time I checked there weren't many of those left.  You can also download it from all the usual places, including the label's bandcamp site, where you can also find a digital copy of the album

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