York's global exports FARRAH have bottled something about being sensitively 14 that will never fade.
These are familiar, crazily familiar, riffs, tunes, drum fills, chord shifts and dynamic quirks that you've heard and loved a million times. From THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL, through EELS to SQUEEZE, FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE via BLINK 182, WEEZER and WHEATUS, it’s Power Pop, innit? And lovely too.
But don’t analyse. Don’t listen carefully. Don’t write a treatise. It’s schlopp really. Where FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE get close to CAMPER Van BEETHOVEN for perfection in banality lyrics, FARRAH stick carefully to banal. Where BLINK 182 have the sheer power to drive a room of kids to a frenzy, Farrah tend to tour a lot in Spain, France and Japan. Not understanding is a prerequisite.
This is their second album – so they've got the hang of it. Damped chords, a squealing outbreak of guitar riffs, a roller coaster melody like Sonic The Hedgehog sped up. Harmony singing. Down the line four four drumming and light additions of production gizmos like hand claps and retro synth noises parked discretely in the lower regions. It's light, breezy and cheerful.
"Daytime TV" is as much a stand out track as any other, with Haemorrhoids, Judy and that pudgy bloke on the sofa. FARRAH don’t go far poetically speaking. "First and Last" is a very sweet tune with clean acoustic guitar and minimum fuss. Lovely hand claps. "I drank until I couldn't drink a – gain / I missed you like a fix and like a friend" … well, yes.
All of the songs sound like something you've heard before, which I guess is part of the point. Maybe a bit of BEN KWELLER here and bit of DAMIEN GOUGH there. But when Jez Ashurst puts down the pen to sing a non-drum cover of JOE JACKSON'S "It’s Different for Girls" the outside world intrudes a little. This killer song is as strong a statement of what songs of the mundane can aspire to as you will find. But Jackson's angry hurt passion becomes light regretful whimsy and if you’re not careful you start thinking about other great English writers. ELVIS COSTELLO maybe. Stop it. This is FARRAH and we're having lots of fun.
After "Girls" we're back with Kwellerish "Half As Strong" and the bouncy cheeriness of chart could-be "Wake Up" that seems to use a Theremin. Hooray for that, and three cheers for a hugely infectious chorus. There's a noisy "secret track" too, coming late on the tail of "The Last Word" which offers the excrutiating wonderfulness of "you put the dick in dictionary". Just so you know, eh?