Run Around The Sun (Rock Action)
With a disappointing Vampire Weekend album out, a recent tour by the reformed Do Re Mi, a new album from former Orange Juice man, Edwyn Collins, Paul Simon on his farewell tour, and a general need at all times for pop bands knowing how to make our feet and not just our ears move, Sacred Paws return at almost the perfect point.
This is a really fun record. Glasgow’s Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers sound like they’re having a whale of a time and we’re not invited to join; we’re already in and probably hitting something alongside Rodgers drumkit.
So if you play this and aren’t cracking a grin at the energy burning within 30 seconds of The Conversation, you’re already someone who counts your franking credits and yells at the kids on the lawn. If you aren’t throwing a hip (or doing the white man’s overbite as you play air bass somewhere just under your chin) when the brass parps up in Almost It, check your pulse.
And I don’t know how else to say this to you, but if you’re not flapping your limbs like some marionette being operated by the strings Aggs is furiously picking at some point of Life’s Too Short, well, to quote Louis Jordan, Jack you dead, and you won’t even make it to track four, Shame On Me, which means you’ll miss that Call Me Al vibe.
The basis of it all is a light but always noticeable footprint that moves with spring-heeled basslines and busy-busy-busy drums that don’t sit on the beat, mixing southern African rhythms (ala Vampire Weekend mimicking Paul Simon) and blow-away post-punk which was both taut and loose. If you can throw back to it, it was the type of thing that came from indie acts as diverse as Pylon in Georgia. Pel Mel and Do Re Mi in Sydney, the “sound of Young Scotland’s” Orange Juice and Josef K, and even, at a pinch, those early singles from Fine Young Animals and some less angular leftovers from The Slits.
Aggs and Rodgers sing to, across and sometimes through each other, their not quite droll delivery and almost reclining melodies the calm surface beneath which those guitars and drums spin in circles – rumbling in Other Side, hi-hat skipping in Almost It, skanking in Is This Real – and it can take a few listens to realise that among the sunshine motes are some more tempered highs, even a touch of wistfulness, as in How Far, and a trace of defeat and frustration in The Conversation.
Which is when the brass and keyboards do the colouring work. In Write This Down that means you might hear a kind of ska punch in the trumpets and trombone; in What’s So Wrong, the keys sporadically do a little ‘80s wash. There’s more going on here than seemed obvious initially but still, it is never a packed sound.
And then the album’s over before you know it, a half hour of your time that sped away. There’s no need to think about what to do next though: play it again.