Right To Rearrange (Faith & Hope)
Remember ‘New Yorkshire’? No? Good, neither do I. But apparently, that’s what taxonomy enthusiasts the NME christened the revival of the region’s indie rock fortunes way back in ’05. Since then, the fortunes of those involved have varied. A few (see The Pigeon Detectives, Reverend and the Makers) have gone onto enjoy commercial success, at the expense of critical acclaim. Others have attracted near unanimous critical extolment; critics have been known to wet their pants on the very mention of ¡Forward, Russia! or The Sunshine Underground. Hell, the Arctic Monkeys, and until very recently The Long Blondes, even managed to combine the two.
Leeds three-piece Buen Chico, however, managed to avoid the glare. Creeping out from’t Dales just as the microscope went out of focus, they quietly released their debut album Right to Re-Arrange a little over a year ago. Praise, whilst certainly forthcoming, was comparably conservative. Media frenzy never materialized. Subsequently, they arrive at the fag end of 2008 with a new album in tow and as a relatively unknown quantity.
Probably more often than we’d like to admit, clichés do ring true; with ‘New Yorkshire’ people really couldn’t see the wood for the trees. As is often the case with the overlooked, Buen Chico shit all over many of their more illustrious neighbours, and with their sophomore effort they’re doing it from an even greater height than before.
Our Love’s Enormous is a collection of twelve sumptuously constructed indie-pop nuggets. There is nothing massively ground-breaking here, but Buen Chico do what they do with style, panache and an infectious energy that makes Our Love’s Enormous a hugely enjoyable listen. The opening track, This Party, sets the tone: tuneful, compact and full of vigour.
Lead singer Morgan Tatchell-Evanshas a knack for shoehorning reams of lyrics into the song without sounding overly verbose, a pitfall not unknown to Los Campesinos! Indeed with Buen Chico’s penchant for a verse or two of spoken word (again, ‘This Party’), their subject matter of love, loss (‘Just As Long As There’s A Spark’) and, eh, dancing (‘Baptized’), the hyperactive Welsh indie upstarts crop up as a point of reference throughout.
But what really sets the record apart, is its multiplicity. Lyrical highlight ‘Rag and Bone Man’ (“does it make you feel powerful to know he’ll buy many of your things / That he can make a viable business from what he finds in our bins”) and Fix Stuff are a pair of shouty, anthemic post punk stompers more akin to Idlewild circa ten years ago than, say, the Arctic Monkeys. Acapella interlude ‘There’s No Machine’ showcases perfect three part harmonies, which return intermittently throughout the album. The final track, ‘Just As Long As There’s A Spark’, is a marvelously morose mini rock opera that recalls Dexy’s Midnight Runners at their best, whilst the album’s standout song, ‘It Wasn’t About That’, (check the change of pace halfway through) could have been lifted from Syracuse outfit Ra Ra Riot’s excellent recent debut, The Rhumb Line.
Without fail, if you peel back all of these layers you’ll find an irresistible melody. Buen Chico may have flown under the radar thus far, but if they keep churning out albums as good as this, it can only be a matter of time before they’re thrust into the public consciousness. New New Yorkshire? Let’s not go there…