Sunday, 7 September 2008

Review: Little Scout - The Dead Loss EP

Back at the start of the year I posted a list of bands to keep an eye on in 2008. One of those bands was Rooftop Nightwatch, who played a number of excellent gigs last year, but have since slipped beneath the waves. Fortunately, the band lives on in the guise of Little Scout, which features Rooftop Nightwatchers Mel Tickle and Pat Elliott, as well as new additions Kirsty Tickle and a part-time drum machine.

The result of this collaboration is The Dead Loss EP, which features 5 songs, some which are old Rooftop tracks and some that are newer ones. The opening track, 'Festival' is part of the former group. The graceful tale of love and loss at a carnival begins with understated electric guitar and beautifully subtle vocals, before moving into a chorus reminiscent of Broken Social Scene's more upbeat moments. Trombone and backup vocals from Elliott help to give the song a misleading amount of size, with the song segueing between the quieter and louder moments with ease.

The second track, 'Dead Loss' starts of with a minutes worth of Eno-esque synth swirls before the motorik-style drum loop kicks in. Mel Tickle's vocals swerve 'Dead Loss' in a direction other then Berlin, however, and by the time the extra drums appear halfway through (actual drums, not a machine this time) Little Scout have stamped out their own little slice of pop. The result is that the impressive 'Dead Loss' comes off as the perfect middle ground between the twee rave-up of Belle and Sebastian's 'Electronic Renaissance', and Slowdive's shoegaze come down 'Catch The Breeze'.

The last three tracks of the EP come close to reaching the potential of 'Festival' and 'Dead Loss'. 'Train On Time' is the best of the three, with Elliott and Tickle splitting the vocal duties for this wistful ballad full of chimes, glockenspiel, and even a bit of a capella towards the end. 'The Dress' is another duet, but this time with a bit more pace, and is reminiscent of The Lucksmiths (but again with extra glockenspiel!). 'Seven Day Week' works well as a closing song, with the production leading the song to sound somewhat distant, and, combined with Tickle's resigned vocals, the song manages to convey quite a lot of emotion.

It will be interesting to see what future course the band takes. While the majority of the EP sticks to the acoustic twee pop that Rooftop Nightwatch came up with, Little Scout's dip into electronica on 'Dead Loss' results in the strongest song here, and if the bands recent live shows are anything to go by then that might be the direction they are headed in. But in the meantime the Dead Loss EP provides a nice combination of both styles, and any fan of indie pop will certainly enjoy this release.

N.B. You may have noticed that I haven't posted much in recent times. Well that's because I'm now living in China! I plan to continue writing, however, as I have about half a dozen albums I still havent reviewed. This review might also seem a bit disjointed as well. I began writing it a month and a bit a go, but due to the move I had to put it on hold.

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