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'Sick Scenes'   

-  Label: 'Wichita Recordings'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '24th February 2017'

Our Rating:
The Spanish name roughly translates as 'The Peasants' but don't be fooled; this band with a fluctuating line up actually formed in Cardiff, Wales in 2006.

This is their sixth album and it was recorded during Euro 2016 in Fridao, Portugal and co-produced by long-time collaborator John Goodmanson working with band member Tom Bromley.

A depressing international football tournament seems an apt backdrop for a musical snapshot of Britain seriously in need of some uplift and national pride.

The eleven new songs are said to be about "fumbling for personal relevance while trying to be a better person" with themes which include prescription medication, heavy drinking, crap weather, cheap package holidays and stroppy OAPs.

The lyrics by Gareth David are concerned with making the most of a bad lot while Tom Bromley's music is incongruously upbeat with an a Indie-pop thrust.

In this locale, the High Street is neither a consumer heaven nor a reassuring haven. In A Slow, Slow Death it is where the singer finds himself "face down in a puddle" while in The Fall Of Home it is empty with the rain is pouring down. The latter is described as "an elegy for the home towns left behind" but is also for "those who didn't want to or couldn't leave".
Dilemmas like these for the common people are presented in similarly unsentimental terms in Here's To The Fourth Time!: "All we got's the need to breed before we rot".

The underlying pessimism of the album is starkly represented by the cover art, a drawing of a comatose young girl in a supermarket.

There are no easy cures for whatever sickness has caused her collapse but these songs of humour and intelligence at least prove that the spirit of resistance is not completely broken.
  author: Martin Raybould

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