Review: The Pure Conjecture need to prove themselves

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SUPERGROUP The Pure Conjecture – made up of members of British Sea Power, The Brakes, Electric Soft Parade and more – pick an unusual choice for an opener to their second album.
Because there are interesting ideas all over their second LP, Gendres.
I Just Want You To Love Me and Surfin’ Sunset have overtones of surf rock, Opinion Fatigue drips with Pet Sounds harmonies, Dictators has its sound subtley but brillantly warped, etc.
But the band choose a mediocre indie track, Roadworks On Memory Lane, a forgettable track about being completely unremarkable, to start.
This kind of sums up this collection for me – despite all the good things going on here, this soft soul indie rock record has an aura of unremarkbleness all over.
The Pure Conjecture may be a supergroup on paper, but on this evidence to argue they’resuper on record would be speculative at best.
3/5

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Download: No need to steal this Stolen Haven track, it’s free

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UP-AND-coming Manchester rockers Stolen Haven will surely steal the hearts of fans of the likes of Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene with their music when they release their debut EP later this year.
They describe their sound as “hefty doses of blisteringly groovy, indie disco style anthems with a heartfelt twist, laid on a bed of catchy rock ‘n’ roll licks.”
So if that sounds the business to you, see what it sounds like with a track to download here – Stolen Haven – Broke

Review: Casimir EP equates to promise

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BRISTOLIANS Casimir are not the sort of band to do things by half.
Listening to their debut EP Not Mathematics, which is out tomorrow, you can tell they’re an emotional lot, as this effort is up and down faster than a bipolar rollercoaster – either they’re off or they’re on.
They’re either down wallowing in indie soundscapes, or full-on firing on all their emotional cylinders.
And it takes around a minute for them to be at full pelt, furiously strumming their guitars, driving forward their drumbeats, and squeezing out every drop of passion from the singer’s guts.
Not Mathematics is however a debut LP, and given the group’s approach to their music as you can imagine there’s a lot of rough around their edges – but if they can add a calculating edge for their full-length, Casimir should be sum force to reckon with.
3/5

Review: Get lost in Mazes

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MANCHESTER band Mazes’s latest LP Ores & Minerals is an unpolished gem that’s easy to get lost in.
The group’s sound is akin to a halfway house between indie acts Clor and Built To Spill – but deceptively, despite their name, they are much, much simpler in approach than either of those.
The guitar hooks here are catchy and crisp, while vocally Mazes again keep it basic – but instead a labyrinthine feel is built through the repetition, the slow building up of a vibe rather than the complicated structuring of a song.
This could on paper verge on infuriating, but the group exudes so much charm that getting lost in their sound is actually more fun than you might imagine.
4/5

Review: Go wild for Dutch Uncles LP

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DUTCH Uncles have slowly become a familiar band, creeping onto the scene with their two previous albums – and January’s Out Of Touch In The Wild, the first truly amazing release of 2013, ought to see them join the indie top table.
The LP is a collection on avant-pop – it’s all easy on the ear, with the Hot Chip-esque vocals of Duncan Wallis and the arty orchestral goodness of the piano and strings mixing with the clean-cut twin guitar work of Pete Broadhead and Daniel Spedding, which echoes the classic work of the likes of Talking Heads.
However this is all arranged in a decidedly different way to standard pop fodder, eschewing verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure – in fact, come the LP’s end, you would be hard pushed to remember a chorus at all.
And this is the Out Of Touch In The Wild’s strength, not a weakness – this is a maelstrom of musical wonder, full of interest and intrigue yet accessible and enjoyable throughout, out of touch but always within reach…
5/5

Soundcast: Electric Banana

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ANDREW Parker, the editor of indie music website Electric Banana, which features music news and reviews, has kindly put together a Soundcast playlist for Sound Advice.
He says: “Indie music: the fine art of finding obscure CDs to annoy your friends with.
“The 1980s and 1990s are the unofficial golden age of indie music – with subsequent ‘Best Of’ polls usually topped by Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and the like. However, I have recently embarked on an exciting personal quest to discover (or re-discover) indie songs that have been forgotten, are criminally underrated, or have simply been ridiculously ignored by the good folk of the 21st century.
“My scrumptious indie selections here consist of classic American alt-rock, eighties indie-pop,
feedback, a cover of The Carpenters, and remarkably (for a 1990s-themed list) no sign of Oasis or Blur anywhere! Blimey.”
To open the playlist in Spotify click here, listen below, and visit Electric Banana for more information on, well, Electric Banana.