‘Out of Sight, Out of Town’ is an album that concerns itself, in the main, with casual sex. However, also being a twee-as-doilies indie-pop record, the flavour of its concerns almost exclusively address the guilt, self-loathing and insecurity side of no-strings encounters, ignoring any of the pouting seediness, hedonism or grubby glamour that someone like Prince might offer the same theme, with considerably more entertainment and fun.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself – dour confessional realism has served many bands well in the past – but where ‘Out of Sight…’ suffers is not in the tales but in the telling. Its stories are sung with little more than a pubescent turn of phrase and delivered with all the teenage diffidence of self-conscious boys and girls whose lives are defined by an incomplete Belle & Sebastian collection and an acne problem – ‘051107’ wails, distractedly and generically, “I don’t know what we’re doing but it feels good, oh yeah”, while ‘Call Me Up’’s grating admission that “I’m not looking for love/It’s just a one-off/It’s only a fuck” trails off into such a nervous mumble by the final word that you wonder if the singer’s mum walked into the studio as he was recording it.

Unfortunately, what all this adds up to is a record that’s trying to appear worldly and urbane, at ease with the difficulties of adult relationships, but which actually sounds like the kid in school who’s basing his imaginary weekend stories on what he read in the GCSE biology textbooks. Its confidence is bolshy but paper thin, and its desire to appear ruefully streetsmart comes out simply as attention seeking.

Of course, as with most self-respecting indie-pop records, there’s some spirited playing here and some deliciously simple melodies, but it’s not enough to rescue the album from the wetness of its singing – at times so bland it may as well be the classified football results – or the tepid neediness of its themes.

By Sam Walton

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