Perhaps that’s why they’ve implied this is a live album, though repeated listening reveals carefully structured lead guitar contours of uncommon intricacy, and an unusually sensitive bass line that tends to dictate their harmonic movements. Slowly it dawns as to just how well put together these songs are.
Live At Dead Lake has several musical themes running through it, an abundance of melodies and a whole host of memorable lyrical couplets. Initially two will compete in your headspace, the refrains of Boy Awaits Return Of The Runaway Girl and This Thing Forever (“seems to last forever”)
It also has keen, unaffected emotion. The trio can move at a stroke from the upbeat couplets of the above through to the scattered drums of the strangely moving Found Sleeping, or the tenderly apologetic I Wasn’t Being Heartless When I Said Your Favourite Song Lacked Heart. Found Sleeping is a prime example of the band’s uncanny knack of word painting, depicting the state of the brain rather well with its indiscriminate drum sounds. My Little Haunting applies this rather more humourously, with fake ghost sounds audible in the middle ground.
Elsewhere the band have energy and verve, and while the bright melody of Let Go Of Everything skips a beat, the singalong chorus of the winningly delivered Hey Housebrick moves into the charming instrumental that is We Played Ourselves, Ain’t Nobody Else’s Fault, neatly dividing the record in two.
After Found Sleeping casts its spell the trio sign off with Sparrow Flew With Swallows Wings, a phrase that somehow describes their music – taking off when powered by one of Matthew Smith’s circular guitar riffs. Smith plays a lot of notes on this record, but his talent lies in making each one sound essential rather than indulgent.
And when those riffs team up with the band’s knowing way with a lyric and a melody a beguiling set of tunes await, ready to charm and energise in equal measure.