Album Reviews

Only Sun – Tangled Mind

(Close Up/Modern Sky) UK release date: 21 May 2021

Only Sun - Tangled Mind There’s been some excitement around Only Sun’s debut long player for a while now. Mainly, this is likely to have been laced with a level of frustration amongst fans depending on the value they put on albums as opposed to single song streams. This is because there’s been an almost never-ending supply of tracks for the past five years, with 2018 being the biggie: one song released on the first of every month for the whole year, a collection you can pick up in full via the 2018 (Thank God That’s Over) compilation. With a title like that, though, it makes you wonder what the hell they would call a collection based on more recent times…

On that subject – you still can’t avoid it, really – the High Wycombe quartet showed their appreciation for the NHS way before the rest of the country jumped on the Thursday at 8pm clapping bandwagon, with NHS70 paying tribute to the health service in their anniversary year, the song appearing as the conclusion to that same 2018 run of releases. One thing is evidently clear wherever you look, though – these lads are not only highly prolific, they’re also capable of knocking out more than their fair share of memorable melodies.

Tangled Mind, ostensibly an album about wellbeing, continues the trend. Opener The Switch is a slab of dancey, high-octane energy that recalls the frenetic math-rock vigour of early Foals and Bloc Party, although we can probably do without the stop/start trait that Catfish And The Bottlemen regularly over-exploit. Lyrics are also a little too repetitive as singer Euan Bryden tells of “running around, same old town” a little too often as he pleads “take me somewhere, anywhere, away from here”. Yet despite the repetition, they’re words we can all relate to and the music is relatable too, being continuously uplifting and catchy throughout.

Single Weird Wins is another that’ll stick in the brain, sitting somewhere in the realms of lad rock acts like The Automatic and Hard-Fi. Another single, Thinking Of You, is no less addictive either, this time brandishing an ’80s glitz and penultimate cut Surely No Way Back is another likely to stay in your head. The earlier Bad Decisions is a fully pumped effort that is possibly the catchiest of the lot, though.

There’s some unnecessary cursing during Conspiracy (“fuck boys” and more), a song about relationships, while the title hits on another hot topic right now, albeit for different reasons, and an ‘all-in’ football chant backs up those lad-rock vibes. Switch Off, Fall Off drops another lyrical misdemeanour (“fuck it, yeah I’m in”), once again feeling like something they can do rather than they need to do. But it’s the first of three belters, including Bad Decisions, that really deliver the ‘indie-rock bangers’ they claim to specialise in. Extraordinary completes the trio and, bizarrely, crafts shades of Big Country during an instrumental in its latter stages.

It’s not all plain sailing, with the pointless Hyenas being a subdued bore, and the album tails off towards its conclusion with a clutch of less impressive numbers. But overall, Tangled Mind does its job well. If you’re badly in need of something to raise your spirits – and who isn’t – you could do a lot worse than look here.

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Only Sun – Tangled Mind