It’s the first track on Mascot Fight’s debut that would intrigue Stuart Murdoch the most. Entitled ‘Terry in The Chicago Sun’, and written lovingly about an adulterous friend who faces an ugly divorce, the track is more of a headbutt than a nod towards our nation’s favourite irreverent twee popsters.
Belle and Sebastian comparisons aside (and given he’s from Leeds, Thomas John’s vocals do seem to have an Ayrshire whiff about them), the first half of Pantomime Hearse is a ragged circus of joy with track titles such as the much revered ‘That’s A Photocopier (Not A Chair)’ and the chirpy ‘Thinking In French’. The former is a fantastically voyeuristic effort about an untenably attractive office colleague ‘…French’ evokes Gomez and Grandaddy with layered vocals cosily snuggling up to a banjo, some electronics and a xylophone.
We have to delve 8 tracks in however for Mr. John and his three compadres to give us a glimpse how good they are. Diego Barnes, written about a superficial actor, is by a long way the best effort on the album. It’s dark, drilling, combative, filthy, wonderfully observed (prize for lyric of the week: “acting like a Withnail for cool points”) and could do with being about 5 minutes longer given that it’s so bloody brilliant. Without its brilliance this debut would probably be in a supporting role, with it, they’ve gone and bagged the lead.