Monday 7 May 2012

Being There - Breaking Away

Album review by KevW

The clutch of songs that have so far been released by London-based quartet Being There have all been effervescent indiepop peaches: the modern idea of what C86 was all about (that tape was actually a lot noisier than the endless references in reviews of elegant, jangly guitar bands make it out to be); a home-grown version of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, bringing their borrowed sounds back to the side of the Atlantic from which they originated. Top-grade, fizzing powerpop; each song a little package of bottled-up adrenaline, like a firework waiting to go off.

To find that only about half of debut album 'Breaking Away' effortlessly cruises along at that tempo is initially a disappointment. That said, a dozen variants of singles 'The Radio' and '17' would not only require a superhuman effort, it would also make for a quite one-dimensional record. Plus, once the changes of pace and style have been absorbed properly you begin to find that it wouldn't have worked any other way. The JAMC-like opener 'Punch The Clock' is superb, its Ronettes drum thuds and fuzzbox guitar add a sense of drama and anticipation. Lo-fi slowies 'Allen Ginsberg', and 'Over Me' swap sides of the Atlantic again to take in the slacker mood of Pavement and their ilk.

Aside from the gorgeous Teenage Fanclub strum of 'Infinity', it's when they up the power that things really excite. That mild distortion and those soft vocals combine best with a beat behind them, and 'Breaking Away' and 'Tomorrow' are so naturally fluid that it feels as though they were just plucked from the air fully-formed. 'The Radio' remains an indiepop high water mark of the past year or so, but alongside this variety of other songs, and bookended by grungy anthems 'Punch The Clock' and 'Up', it's just one cog in a wonderfully well-oiled machine. 'Breaking Away' might not be entirely full of punches, but just as David beat Goliath and the tortoise beat the hare, Being There have seen off many more obvious contenders and have made a quite special debut album.

Free download: 'Tomorrow'

Being There's website

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