The Tenderfoot (not to be confused with Tenderfoot – a US Christian Metal outfit) deal in janglesome and melodic indie, that switches from time to time into sparklingly atmospheric post rock territory. Think Elbow, think Arab Strap, a touch of Super Furry Animals – just the job for a disgustingly hungover Sunday morning, which coincidentally is rather a slice of luck for this reviewer.
Save The Year gets off to a distinctly average start. Waking Me Up Again is lilting, casually strummed and irksomely repetitive. Its saving grace is a glimpse into the lyrical dexterity of the band. Lead vocalist Darren Moon yarns consistently entertaining and witty observation throughout the album.
The lyrical style of the album is quintessentially English, and in places utterly charming. There’s a simplicity, an honesty, and an accessible quality that’s refreshing and genuinely interesting. Morrissey would be proud of the closing track, You Stopped Letting Me Hold You In The Night, with the line: “I cannot recall a time before or a previous situation / Where you had been intolerant of my poor circulation”. Unfortunately, these terrific lyrics are rather marred by Moon’s stoner-rock vocals, which really begin to drone after a few listens and especially so on the title track.
The best of Save The Year is to be found slap bang in the middle of the album when the band veer from the well trodden indie path into little bouts of post rock. Too Drunk To Realise I’m Making You Want To Hit Me, is fantastically well put together, with guitars chiming against each other, creating layers of all encompassing sound. The Last One-Two follows in a similar vein and is a genuinely interesting and progressive track with its machine-gun drumming and reverberating vocals.
Cowbell Blues and Still Holding My Stomach In also deliver suitably ethereal aural pleasure, drifting by effortlessly with delicious pop sensibilities. Elsewhere however, The Tenderfoot seem to lose themselves and some tracks (Another Night Wasting, To Know A Ceiling Wall) meander along with no particular purpose, threatening to develop into something more and then simply falling away, the latter is particularly patchy and inconsistent.
Which really sums up the whole album, The Tenderfoot show flashes of real excellence in places but Save The Year is a frustratingly wriggly little bugger. It’s just so difficult to pin down and simply relax with. That said, The Tenderfoot do enough here to suggest that given time, they could one day enjoy the cult following that fellow Brighton-based (and not incomparable) bands British Sea Power and Electric Soft Parade currently command, but not yet, because Save The Year just doesn’t quite merit it.