Sportique

Black Is a Very Popular Colour

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The first full-length album by Sportique is very much in the style of the three singles that preceded it (only two of which, the Jam-style "If You Ever Change Your Mind" and "Tiny Clues," are reprised here): Singer-guitarist Gregory Webster, as he mentions in the slyly parodic liner notes, is equally in thrall to the Byrds, Wire, and the Pastels, and these ten songs manage to find interesting new ways to blend those three disparate influences. The most immediate songs are the scrappy little punk-pop tunes, like the terribly Wire-like "P58," which sets a deadpan reading of a slice of Royal Mail bureaucracy against slashing, angular guitar chords and wraps the whole thing up in a minute-and-a-half, and "The Cover," which goes even further in its Pink Flag worship. That said, the more effective and lasting tunes are the ones on which Webster turns down the frenetic abandon a bit and adds some Teenage Fanclub-style winsomeness and romantic longing. "Northern Sky," "A World Without Pity," and the lovely, country-tinged "The Impersonator" are the highlights in this style, which is what makes Black Is a Very Popular Colour more than just another slab of U.K. indie pop.

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