What with it being summer it seems only right that there should be at least one album with sunshine beaming out of its very being. Bank Place Locomotive Society has a fair bit of hazy summer magic running through its dance inflected indie tunes, but too much of anything can sometimes get tedious. Too much time in the company of this band of Scottish songsmiths might have you wishing for arctic conditions and the opportunity to wear those cool jackets that have been retired for the season.
Yet it all starts so promisingly with a stream of undeniably catchy pop songs. The collision of afrobeat, calypso and indie of One Step Away opens the album with a musical grin that could only improved� with careful application of rum-based cocktails and a special herbal doofer. The guitar tones are warm and chiming whilst vocalist Daniel Craig (no not that one) channels The Beach Boys and Fleet Foxes. It’s a shame that it only lasts about a minute and a half, because it is charmingly disarming.
Seven Second Stare’s taut basslines drive a minimal scattering of wiry guitars, baby cute keyboards and Craig’s hankering for a holiday towards a classy pop payoff. It’s the kind of thing Ballboy might have come up with had they been on a field trip to Barbados and eaten nothing but Cabana bars soaked in Barcadi.
The riffing of early Foals is called to mind with he precision scampering guitars of Off To… and with Craig’s straight talking lyrics and simple melodies Tango In The Attic waste little time in worming their way into the pleasure centres. This opening salvo suggests that they can tread the line between danceable and quietly anthemic with a nimble grace, but occasionally they lack focus.
For example, A Healthy Distraction narrowly succeeds thanks to the mildly distracting nature of its chorus – it is otherwise an exercise in treading water. Despite that chorus and an attempt to evoke a carnival atmosphere with a rumbling drum interlude there’s little else of note. Blunderground stabs at a memorable melody but eventually it wanders off into a blind alley and dies of boredom. Its buttoned down bassline and guitars loaded with a hazy feel-good tone kick things off nicely but somewhere along the line it meanders off lost and confused.
The Letting Go suffers a similar fate. The initial jaunty electro-skank skip clicks its heels before running into trouble at the midpoint, sinking into a quicksand dirge clearly marked with an enormous sign reading ” Beware! Unnecessary Over Indulgence Ahead”.
Minor grumbles aside, there’s still plenty of good stuff to be found here. The Jam meets Nintendo hop through Jackanory is as wide-eyed as the title might have you believe whilst the reflective mood of Leftside meanwhile adds some welcome contemplation to proceedings. Craig’s vocals take on a dour tone, while the guitars slow to a more steady pace concentrating as much on atmosphere as possible suggesting an alternative to the sunny disposition displayed elsewhere.
Bank Place Locomotive Society is a good introduction to a band that obviously has plenty of potential. Despite a few duds, there are plenty here to get people dancing in the street, let along tangoing in the attic.