North Yorkshire may not be the most obvious place to look for Pavement-inspired guitar rock but it was from here that a young lad named Oliver Catt started his Fantasy Rainbow project. Marketed as “euphoric slacker indie”, Catt and an assortment of local players certainly fit that description well, since their album is full of happy/sad vocals and gloriously off-key melody.
In a largely flawless first half, ‘Condominium’ sets the standard for what is to follow with naggingly infectious guitar hooks, echoed self-harmonies and a rich yet lo-fi production. ‘Nothing But’ and ‘Bread Biscuit’ are impassioned college rock tracks where Catt sounds more and more anguished as the songs progress and even when ‘Earwax’ slows the pace down, the track’s finger-cramping key changes ensure that the band keep things interesting. Indeed, as the album draws on, Catt embodies the spirit of Eels’ Mark ‘E’ Everett; his voice cracked with similar levels of anguish and heartache. Nevertheless, he emerges from premature ageing to stir himself and perform superbly on the undeniably warped but youthfully infectious ‘Or; Comfort’ and the breezy ‘Golf World’ is just sublime.
British bands who attempt an American sound rarely achieve success but Fantasy Rainbow could prove to be an exception. Their album is packed with energy, creativity and killer tunes and in Catt they have an endearing and original frontman and songwriter who may grow to be the inspiration for more teens to detune their guitars.
Death Cab For Cutie, Pavement, Eels, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah