Album Reviews

The Loungs – We Are The Champ

(Akoustik Anarkhy) UK release date: 21 May 2007

“Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur” as some clever clogs once spouted. They could well have been talking about the cocky Loungs who seemingly invite a critical mauling for their cheek in calling their debut album We Are The Champ.

Thankfully my critical mauling mitts remain dusty after succumbing to music that lives up to the hype. For a debut album to take in influences as head-spinning as The Beach Boys, The Beta Band, Super Furry Animals, ELO and The Wurzels is something. Sunshine from St. Helens (between Manchester and Liverpool) to brighten your life. To know it’s self-produced and bursting with ideas makes you know you’re onto something pretty special.

In other hands the sort of schizophrenic changes that crop up on We Are The Champ would be lumpy and unnecessary in a pop song but in the land of The Loungs songs are rarely the same ones that finish as the ones that start. All Your Love flits from waltz time to party time in a breath.

Mental health, hairdressing, nonsense and lost and lumbering love all crop up as topics for pop discussion all done with a cheeky glint in their eye. Sweet sea shanties roil and tumble on a sea of four-part harmonies and Armageddon Outta Here even calls to mind the jaunty jangle of eighties pop harmonizers The Housemartins. Throughout It All has the same woozy charms of Welsh outfit Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Googly Moogly is as big and daft as the name would suggest done with such earnestness as a beat group direct from a working men’s club.

Take Get Along for example; starting on a sweet low tempo brush of harmony before swelling into a drunken ska / big band / punky hoedown…and back again. This is music charged with a pulsing heartbeat that gets up, sits down, has a cry on your shoulder before leading the can-can �round the room.

The equivalent of a technicolour hoe-down in a riot of colours from the gaudy seaside stomp of Electric Lights to the autumnal shrug of In Winter Coats that makes The Loungs a distinctly British band. They send back postcards from sunnier climes where harmonies and drinks run free, but beneath the sunhats dark thoughts and intentions lurk. The riotous Seen My Baby Dancing sounds like Madness covering a surf classic.They’re like the Bastard Beach Boys, from ‘oop North’ toiling about on a freezing seafront dreaming of palm trees.

It is a treasure-trove of psychedelic, kaleidoscopic references that cartwheel away on lush orchestration, chiming melodies, banks of harmony to make the bleakest of being dumpedness seem not so bad. They could revel in their own smugness but tunes are trimmed of fat to be sleek, smart, infectious and sneaking under the two and a half minute mark. They are the undisputed champs of off-kilter music set to the head-spinning, soul-swooping, shattering of crystal balls. It is, (clich� dictionary to the fore) �a knockout!’

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The Loungs – We Are The Champ