‘Thrash-pop,’ they call it, although Scotland’s Garden Of Elks favour something a little more subtle than Kerry King-style shredding. Drawing from the so-called ‘alternative' rock of the 90s, pacy numbers like Mountain Dew emit vague aromas of Sonic Youth and Slowdive, albeit with a pleasing tendency to riff on a somewhat grungier level. Niall Strachan flits between a careworn drawl and impassioned yelps, while guitars jangle esoterically before surging towards the stratosphere; catharsis on top of catharsis, only much more fun than that looks on paper.
There’s a vague hint of Wire’s catchy dissonance to the excellent Wings, particularly in bassist Ryan Drever (he of the PAWS parish)’s jerking contributions – by the time Tomorrow’s juddering atmospherics roll around, it dawns on us just how much action is packed into these 28 minutes. Garden Of Elks are not the heaviest of rockers, nor (on this record, at least) the noisiest. Instead, they offer ideas and hooks in abundance: admirable traits indeed. [Will Fitzpatrick]