Their previous album "Demon" was probably my most-played of 2006 and rates as one of my favourite of recent years. The fabulous 'Freejazz' single left me pining for more. I just didn't expect to be pining for this long! Yes it's been 2 years and I must say I find it strange, that after all that time, the album contains the single and its B-side 'Put On Hold', all be it in re-recorded versions.
Their first album provoked comparisons to the Pixies, which I thought missed the importance of the streak of wild playfulness and off kilter humour that made them sound so unique. It is ironical then that I find myself hearing the Pixies in the first half of this album so strongly, indeed the bass line on the opening track is pure Kim Deal.
I don't know if it was a conscious decision or not but, with the exception of brilliant 'Freejazz' the first five tracks on this album are fairly standard indie rock, which isn't to say they aren't good, and they will certainly go down well with fans of the genre, they just lack that unique Envelopes 'something' that made the first album so special. It's not 'til track six("Boat" an Audrey Pic showcase)that the album really kicks in. Everything after this is classic Envelopes with inventive playfulness to the fore(dull old curmudgeons should steer clear). A real stand-out is 'Put On Hold' which I hadn't been too keen on when I first heard it on the single but, in this newly minted form, is a real treat. Alas the album finishes way to soon and at 35 minutes could do with another couple of songs. Having said that, I hate it when an artist throws on some dull filler just to make up the numbers so I'll take this.
I must admit I teetered back and forth between 4 and 5 stars and ultimately decided to give them the benefit of the doubt as there isn't actually a duff track on the album.
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