The Picture Show

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Picture Show might be the aggregate of every sunny day England will ever see. Full of lazy quiet guitar lines that twitch via foot pedal into crackling distortion choruses, and led through sunlit fields by head 'Seed Kieran Scragg's weary soar, the album's (mostly) laconic lilt is as unassuming as its makers' out of the way Devon upbringing. Sure, Show sounds like Coldplay. But, like Chris Martin and 150 other scrawny English frontmen, Scragg has the innate ability to make lyrical couplets novelistic with just inflection and a few long notes. "Alice was a poser, the kind who'd take her clothes off/And sit in a room full of frozen faces," he drawls in "Sparkle Me" (along with "Casino," one of the two previous singles that appear here). Later, "Who Stole the Weekend" is made much more than simply being the next upbeat indie pop-flavored ditty by Scragg singing "A minute with you is better than a year with myself" over pretty layers of his own voice. "A Guide to Happiness" sketches out an urgent, slightly druggy Teenage Fanclub feel, while "Riot" poses meandering verses against a strident hook (think Muse, maybe Travis). So there's no getting around Picture Show's rerunning of the occasional Brit rock cliché. Stuff like "Buy Her Flowers" and "Sunlight" -- yes, they named a song "Sunlight" -- flirts with getting all overdone under weepy strings and plaintive piano. However, those elements largely stay in the shade, since Buffseeds prefer to build feeling with dynamic electric guitar and Sragg's charming vocals. Some might say that's old fashioned, or even played out. But if it ain't broke, right? Besides, you were getting sick of Rush of Blood to the Head by now, anyway.

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