Wampire – Bazaar
The first sound heard on Bazaar is cackling laughter – the kind that might punctuate dastardly villainy of one shade or another. It serves as a droll reminder (as if their moniker alone weren’t enough of a clue) that Wampire don’t take themselves overly seriously, with the Portlanders' second album sharing debut Curiosity’s goofy tendencies as well as its off-the-cuff catchiness.
The track that follows this preliminary mirth (driving, synth-led micro-anthem The Amazing Heart Attack) presents Wampire at their most upbeat and appealing, driven by pacey kick drum, crunchy guitar riffs and the redolent fumes of 80s nostalgia. The energy is conserved on Bad Attitude, which coasts on knowing sneers and boisterous fretwork, before Fly on the Wall and Wizard Sleeve establish a smoother groove (and simultaneously confirm the band’s fluctuating musical interests). Dabbling so widely arguably leaves some flavours under-developed, but it’s a compromise we can happily live with. [Chris Buckle]