[sic] Magazine

Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

Writing this review as I am approaching my mid-30s, I find myself increasingly bewildered by new music and wondering what all the fuss is about. This year I’ve purchased the latest albums by Bloc Party and TV On The Radio, possibly swayed by the fashionable music press who tell me that if I like such and such a band, I will love their new release. In both cases I was unmoved by albums which are heralded in other quarters as the best of the year. There’s so much going on in these records, it’s difficult to find the hook at the centre of the song, possibly because there isn’t one to be found. Late Of The Pier are another band who defy easy categorisation and another band who have been held up as stars of the year. At least on this evidence, the praise is partially deserved.

From its heroically unsubtle opening, ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ does indeed brim with ideas. Hyperactive vocals are matched step by step by random lyrics and equally random synth swirls. Yet there is some magic within the madness. From its gurgling effects at the beginning of the record, ‘The Bears Are Coming’ borrows guest vocals from Sweep from childrens’ TV staple The Sooty Show, yet somehow turns it into a fun and strangely addictive song. Likewise ‘Random Firl’ has the endearing aura of youth TV about it whilst ‘Heartbeat’ contains several killer synth tunes in one song and reminded me of New Musik, Buggles and Ultravox all at once.

Elsehwere, ‘VW’ is ushered in on a mind-bending riff and ends with the word “cabbage” and ‘The Enemy Are The Future’ sounds like a faster paced version of Japan. There is no time for introspection for this young band from Nottingham; they have clearly got lots of synthesized melodies at their disposal and are more than willing to show them off but half of the time it’s not enough to hold the song together.

With their twisted take on pop, I guess Late Of The Pier are this year’s Klaxons although they hit the mark less regularly. It’s also questionable whether ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ will sound like an annoying diversion in a few years’ time but at the moment they sound very “now” and this will do fine.



More of Jon’s Reviews can be found at his blog, Leonards Lair