Cold Pumas – The Hanging Valley
Ah, yes – indie pop. Swirling guitars, motorcycle bass, twee (in places) but also beholden to liveliness (and therefore life-affirming), zipping along beneath floppy fringes and a fuzzy take upon melodic intent.
And should that sound formulaic, well yes; it can be, at least without that extra unquantifiable ingredient – ingredient X, let’s call it – to provide the intrigue. It’s not that The Hanging Valley is in any way a bad album; now swelled to a four-piece, and with (three-quarters of) the band having swapped Brighton for the London smog, there’s plenty of (early '90s) Camden swagger floating about – from the era when Camden wasn’t quite the pastiche of itself that it has subsequently become.
Yet a lingering suspicion remains that there’s little that’s new or groundbreaking to the bouncy vigour encountered on tracks such as Severed Estates or A Change in Course; even the blissed-out motorcade of highlight Fugue States fails to have all its sirens sounding. Sometimes, when bumping into the perfectly pleasant, you crave for something more. Now, where did we put that ingredient X?