Conquistadors – On Tape (Godmonkey)

Conquistadors On Tape

This 3rd EP from Birmingham band Conquistadors starts by searching the radio waves until Black Swans kicks in with cheerful, math-pop guitar lines from Adam and James, the latter also providing the chirpy hollered vocals, it moves with lively abandon from The Futureheads-like verses towards a scowly twee-finale, but it’s when Andy’s drum-line really steps into gear, a toe-tapping strut bounding around behind the lolloping guitarlines that the track really comes into its own.

There’s a folksy side to the twiddling guitars of Homework that is as careless and buoyant as doodles in a schoolbook, ‘Yeah! You’re more beautiful than the sun!’ barks James, the track twisting into its best approximation of Vampire Weekend-like doe-eyed silliness. Sadly the down-tempo vocally layered refrain of ‘You need time travel to repair what you’ve done.’ is awkward and mawkish, seemingly trying to turn the track into a buddy-hugging anthem, but whilst the guitars are suitably anthemic and uplifting, the track lacks a real emotional hook to get those hands waving.

Oh, Luxembourg! begins with wild yelping and has a pleasingly scrappy energy, though it turns into another sing-a-long song come the chorus that feels closer to barely remembered boy-band Snug than the reasonably inventive twangst that propelled the track into life. The remastered version of Bake Your Cake and Eat It (from their 2nd EP) has a similar pogoing diet-punk quality, the band crowing ‘I’m not Spartacus!’ on the silly, fun chorus. The more emotive verses have the same shouty quality of Bristolian one-man-army Oxygen Thief, and when James’ voice is accompanied by a similarly laddish choir the track has a certain chaotic charm.

There are certainly similarities here and there to a plethora of popular bands from recent times that perhaps have inevitably left an indelible impression on this quartet, but they have buckets of infectious energy that manages to keep this EP aloft and enough invention of their own to hold the interest, even when their ideas wobble on the tightrope.


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