letswrestle

When a band name a record after themselves and it’s not their first, the message is clear if clichéd – “this is the real us”. You can’t imagine that London’s Let’s Wrestle would disagree with that: not frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzalez, at least. This third album is all him; effectively a solo record; impressively, his first written the sour side of 19.

In 2007, barely out of school, Gonzalez rejected his juvenile, indie adolescence on debut single ‘I Wish I Was In Husker Dü’ – a track of rudimentary garden-shed-punk that dissed Lambchop and idolised Part Chimp and Thurston Moore. It was largely a joke and the humour has indecently outlived a vast majority of the band’s rolling cast members, but it also set the tone for Let’s Wrestle’s homemade debut of Pavement pop through keen schoolboy eyes that were also petulant and quintessentially English. The following ‘Nursing Home’ was less hip in that sense, but it’s ‘Let’s Wrestle’ that sees Gonzalez finally bring the band back in line with his true heroes – The Beatles and various classic bands you might find on an America AM dial.

Gonzalez is clearly more McCartney than he is Lennon, pricing melody above anything else, which unfortunately includes simple excitement for the greater good of a song ‘working’. And so all of ‘Let’s Wrestle’ sounds perfectly decent, if draining in its constant mid-tempo by the closing ‘Watching Over You’ – one weepy to far in a record so down on romance. Mud-like waltz ‘Tied Up’ stands out as a rare occasion in which unlucky in love Gonzelez is melodramatic enough to not bring us down in his funk, while ‘Opium Den’ is the optimum cocktail of the band’s slacker beginnings and ‘the real Westley Patrick Gonzalez’ – a young man getting a little older.

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