The genius behind Hatcham Social’s debut (‘You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soul’) lay in its shameless pilfering of fine bands allied with an admirable energy. With songs that borrowed from the books of Orange Juice and Ride, they could have been a Franz Ferdinand it’s OK to like. ‘About Girls’ is described as their “party record”.
‘NY Girl’ is a fine and energetic way to start with the band ripping through the song like The Horrors without the shoegaze fixation. After that, ‘Nicola Tells Me’ possesses a sing-along, London-centric quality reminiscent of Blur. Sadly the record then flickers between low-grade indie pop (like a mixture of Suede and Blur only not as good) and occasional inspiration. ‘Like An Animal’ is good because its catchy, albeit in a student-friendly way, ‘Escape From London’ rumbles with menace, ‘All Summer Long’ features some sparkly new wave and ‘Somebody Else’s You’ is the only song which sounds like they’re trying something different but the likes of ‘Invention Of Air’ and ‘Would You’ sound limp and devoid of new ideas, as if they had put a student union indie playlist into a blender to see what would come out.
‘About Girls’ is disappointing simply because it’s not distinctive enough. Whereas the debut promised much with its thrilling mix of indie’s past and added quirkiness, here they sound like a mix of Britpop bands and – worse still – modern day exponents like The Kooks. Thankfully the consistent energy of the rhythm section and occasional moments of individualism save it from also-ran status.
Suede, Blur, The Kooks, The Auteurs