Be Like Pablo’s debut album, The New Adventures, has been a long time in the making; it was on the cards the moment the quintet formed in 2009. Due to a lack of contacts in the industry – being from Forres, arguably not anywhere near the top of A&R person’s list of towns/cities to visit for finding new blood, probably makes being noticed more difficult – they decided to go it alone, making their LP in whatever spare time they could find.
After several recording sessions, it’s finally ready to be released and, to their credit, the end result doesn’t sound as torturous as its staggered gestation might suggest. It goes without saying that all the usual tropes of a Scottish indie pop are there – chirpy hooks and all – but loud guitars and in-your-face keyboards add a bit more power. Without this aspect of their sound you’d be forgiven for thinking that all the songs are a little too twee but, as it is, subtlety is nowhere to be found here. The opening cut, The Things You Do, is perfect evidence of this and something that would fit quite easily fit on Weezer‘s last effort.
That said, plenty of other tunes would also do that job. Relying on the same trick over and over has its upsides and its downsides. At its best, there is a fair amount of material that, given radio play, would make Be Like Pablo a household name. Julianne is almost begging for an enthusiastic DJ to fall in love with it thanks to handclaps, wiry synths and a chorus that is simple but effective. Love Is For The Living is direct and punchy, whilst I Can’t Dance is a traditional but charming pop-punk ballad.
However, every track has to work for The New Adventures to serve its purpose as an album. The odd moment where they deviate their formula, which works more often than not, results in some truly weak moments that won’t be revisited again in a hurry. The worst of these is Without The Pain, which plods along offering nothing of note, except for the suspect attempts at rapping by Kuda in verses that just seem unnecessary.
Those looking for fresher and more original thrills will look elsewhere. For those who simply don’t give a damn new tricks in pop and just want decent songs, Be Like Pablo will act as their knights in shining armour. The New Adventures is loved up, full of life and easily excitable. There is nothing new or ground-breaking to be found anywhere on it, but its tracks are, for the most part, great fun nonetheless.