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An excess of self-conscious, deliberate zaniness can often prove to be more irritating than interesting. Laurel Collective tread the tightrope between the two, sometimes erring and plunging, sometimes excelling. There are so many influences and musical reference points here, even within individual tracks, that to list them all would take if not an entire issue, at least a double page spread. So just imagine LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip presiding over a huge school hall where infantilised versions of Friendly Fires, Field Music, Belle & Sebastian and the Beach Boys bash away manically on swathes of instruments, all at the same time and under no real direction. Every now and then, as on the brilliant ‘Flame Thrower’, the resulting cacophony aligns into some kind of order, and what we hear resolves into a kind of quirky indie built with the big, bold, primary-coloured building blocks of pop. Quirkily good stuff.

By Chris Watkeys

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