In the past few years, as a certain transistor radio sound has buzzed about indie like a US college station that can never be completely tuned into, Male Bonding have been the only British band to show any real sign of emulating the success and excitable appeal of No Age and Wavves et al. ‘Nothing Hurts’ is partly, but not wholly, an ode to blurred bar chords and washed out vocals from across the Atlantic. It travels at a speed of 13 songs per (half) hour, which makes it tricky to not get excited about, proudly mugging Nirvana one second (‘Paradise Vendors’ is the spit of their ‘Molly’s Lips’ cover) and sounding like ‘Pop Scene’-era Blur the next (on ‘T.U.F.F.’, the album’s heaviest and best track). There’s a fair few nods to Brit Pop, in fact, the ex-antidote to Grunge. Here they’re perfect partners – baggy, distant vocals with tumbling, sloppy drum fills, eccentric cowbells (on ‘Pumpkin’) interrupting thrashing angst and Symposium-esque naivety (‘Weird Feelings’). ‘Nothing Hurts’ really is the best of both worlds.

By Sam Little

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