“Reality is rubbish” proclaim Novelty Island, and they certainly turn and face the strange on their debut EP, Suddenly On Sea.
The third fruit of the record came last month, with the release of The Desperately Strange, along with its superb video that includes undoubtedly the most iconic pub crawl of all time. Tom McConnell takes in Coronation Street’s Rovers Return, Moe’s Tavern from The Simpsons, and gets a smack in the mouth from indefatigable tough nut Phil Mitchell in The Queen Vic.
It’s a taste of the bizarre world of Novelty Island that sets us up well for this release. The low-fi, toybox Suddenly On Sea takes no time at all to be carried away into the fascinating life of this four-piece.
Take Francesca Relax for example, with keyboardist Frankie Tibbles gently introducing us into a swaying, cartoon world that sits somewhere between sounding like something from a ’40s wireless to the Pet Shop Boys.
This is after Jaunty View has set us off on this journey, one that sounds as if it should be played in a Blackpool arcade. It’s bedroom pop, made studio. Clean, shiny, but with enough quirks to have that beautifully fresh and exciting sound.
Thoughts Of The Fish Quay takes it up a little, McConnell’s vocals more prominent, Shang-A-Land guitar from David Dargahi and tip-tapping Harry Carter combining for a bit more rock and roll.
The title track, Suddenly On Sea, is tighter still, channelling quintessence and romance in equal measure. It’s the least stop-start, but takes on the risk of losing oddity to produce a sweet closer that adds a dynamic to a band with talent in abundance.
Out tomorrow, you can pre-order Suddenly On Sea here.