BEEP SEALS – Things That Roar (Heron)

Despite naming themselves after a Captain Beefheart poem, Manchester five piece Beep Seals don’t go for the angular psychedelia of the good Captain, but purvey a glorious summery indie-pop sound. They take a healthy dose of 60’s pop and mix it with some 70’s power-pop to produce a batch of excellent pop/rock songs. If, on hearing this album, you think the band owe a debt to Teenage Fanclub, then it could be because they got Norman Blake in to produce it, and if anyone knows a thing or two about indie-pop then it is Norman. ‘Biting Glass’ is a melodic little tune, if a little subdued for an opening track – something like the fuzz-guitar laden ‘I Dreamt A Metal Hat’ would have drawn the listener in quicker – but it is a good example of what the band can do. ‘Tell Your Friends’ has a Beatles-esque quality to it, and ‘Join Me On My Cloud’ is stripped-down folk. ‘Stars’ and ‘I Used To Work At The Zoo’ bring back the power-pop element of the band, while ‘Chariot Song’ and ‘On Opening The Curtains…’ are a couple of lovely ballads. In fact every song on here is a winner, combining catchy melodies, great vocals and harmonies, and a real sense that the band are enjoying themselves while they are playing these tunes. With the less than impressive summer we have had this year we need albums like this to lift the spirits, and this collection of bright and breezy songs is just the thing to do it.