Friday, 14 October 2011
APB – Jaguar (Oatcake Records)
Time for a confession, I think. I’d started to write this review before I knew anything about APB’s history. I just listened and I hold my hands up, I’d never heard of this trio, and I was three tracks in, and writing about their new wave inclinations. Then I checked them out and discovered a musical history that goes back thirty odd years. Well, they’ve moved on, but they’ve managed to bring their old style with them, impeccably updated with some present-day ideas.
There’s nothing wrong with the opening track, "Cradle To The Grave" sounding as solid as a Scottish oatcake (yep, they’re a Scottish band on Oatcake Records... sorry) and it’s the sort of thing that would pack a pub venue on most nights of the week. I live around the corner from one such place, where you can here loads of 70's rock and punk every weekend. I immediately had a dream of getting this trio down from Aberdeenshire to show the locals what the real deal sound like.
We move towards new wave territory on "Electric Boy", although it has a sound and space all of its own, a song that makes me wonder what they might have sounded like all those years ago, when they were supporting The Clash and The Jam (and James Brown apparently - I wonder what he made of them?). We’re eased towards Talking Heads territory on "First Dance", and possibly Television on "You Give Me Pain". Both are very good, and they only hint at the bands that were their contemporaries, and when the title track comes along, sung by Jim Shepherd (The Jasmine Minks), you have to take your hat off to them.
So, there it is. A look back to thirty years ago, followed by a move forward to the here and now, and we have a mini-album that’s almost as exciting, surely, as the early work they did. But it’ll have to be someone better informed than I about APB will be able to tell you for sure. If you can’t find an expert, then take a chance – it’s worth it.