Wise old sages may say that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and with this in mind, London’s Argonaut simply wrote an e-mail to Criminal Records and asked them to come and listen to their tracks and watch them perform. The band were duly signed up and now the female-fronted five-piece have made their first studio album.
They begin impressively. ‘Monet’ immediately calls to mind all-girl act, Warpaint, thanks to the song’s hypnotic, rhythmic undertow and breathy, detached female vocals cooing killer couplets such as “It’s a great place to get out of your head. Looking at pictures painted by the dead”. The second track, ‘Touch Electric’, is punkier and more muscular and not unlike another all-girl act, but this time it’s the somewhat less-celebrated Fuzzbox. Thereafter, the record is a little consistent, ranging from the gothic stylings of ‘Two Lights’ to the underwhelming female-fronted 1980’s rock of ‘Vintage Dress’ and ‘Spectres’. Interestingly, Argonaut are actually at their best when they slow things down and create a sense of mystery. This level of intrigue is most apparent on their opening song but ‘They Can Buy You’ and ‘Sleep Tight’ are full of similar levels of lurking menace and tight musicianship, whilst ‘Chemistry’ manages to be both sinister and touching.
‘Argonaut’ is an odd album to listen to since it seems caught halfway between early Altered Images and the considerably cooler, more modern acts such as the aforementioned Warpaint. Perhaps what they do lack is enough distinguishing features to make them stand out from the pack but as a debut, this is promising enough to make it a slick and enjoyable listen.
Altered Images, Warpaint, Garbage