I’ve decided that Oxford must have some pretty fertile ground. After all, Radiohead have continuously succeeded all of these years, and not only that but art-indie band, and one of my favourites, now de-funct youthmovies hailed from Oxford. It’s no coincidence that intelligent bands very much like youthmovies are starting to spring up from Oxford then. First I noticed the brilliant Spring Offensive and now come the equally ace Gunning For Tamar (signed to the equally brilliant and ever innovative Alcopop! Records).
Time Trophies, Gunning For Tamar‘s first release on Alcopop! Records is an EP comprised of three tracks (and two remixes) filled with soft melodies, often epically erupting old school Biffy Clyro style into cutting distorted riffs but none the less, always maintaining a sense of jagged unpredictability (much like the earlier Biffy material). At times it’s unashamedly art indie like the title track that recalls the guitar tones of (a cool band in my mind anyway) Secondsmile, while second track Chocolate Hooves relies on melodies that you wouldn’t be surprised to see on Minus The Bear‘s brilliant Menos el Oso and final track Astronaut/Abort is just in a world of its own with a deep brooding bass line and a jaunty piano melody moving the track along while vocally Gunning For Tamar hit the youthmovies notes where it’s flawed, but that’s why you like it.
In all honesty it’s hard to describe this EP, it’s filled with that many ideas. The fact that every comparison I’ve made has been to a band that I have at some point in my life absolutely adored should go some way into explaining how much I rate Gunning For Tamar. Yes it’s a bit Biffy Clyro, a bit youthmovies, a bit Minus The Bear, a bit Secondsmile, hell it’s even a bit early Foals. So what it isn’t necessarily instant, but it’s intelligent, inspiring, musically thought provoking, and that’s before you even see how they are packaging the product (basically it’s a nifty watch with a download link to the EP, how cool is that?!).
Poppy art indie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, hell, I’m sure it isn’t NME’s cup of tea these days so that instantly makes it uncool right? But I have to say this; It’s releases like this, and the imagination behind the packaging of the product that make me proud to review up and coming independent bands.