When describing an act from the North of England, it’s a safe bet to assume that terms such as “acerbic wit” and “gritty charm” should be banded about. On this score, Leeds’ The Seven Inches don’t disappoint, even if they regularly walk along the tightrope between endearing glimpses of British underdog life and undergraduate amateurism.
As titles such as ‘(I Wanna Be) The Second Coolest Person In Town (After You)’ readily testify, there’s a healthy celebration of loser values on their first album but some of the performances are too pale and wan. ‘A Letter’ is arguably the worst culprit, where there’s a temptation to kick lovelorn lead vocalist, Ian Cockburn, in the backside and tell him not to be so bloody soppy. Generally, though, even when the songs seem a little frail, there are nice touches like the addition of trumpet on the otherwise ramshackle ‘Our Gang Of Friends’.
There are some cracking little nuggets of pop here too. ‘Cashback’ is an angsty anthem for the everyday ennui of nine to five work. It’s catchy, jangly and lyrically sharp and when the band are on their game they really can produce on the incisive pop front. ‘The Little Things’ is another brilliant slice of infectious punk with a punchy chorus and there’s even a cute and affectionate tribute to ‘Hanna-Barbera’. It’s probably best to gloss over the music hall stylings of ‘Cravats And Spats And Feather Boas’, which is admittedly witty in its execution but such an experiment is best saved for the theatre.
As a whole, ‘The Seven Inches Get Disorientated’ resembles a family friendly edition of fellow indie punkers/DIY rockers such as Scumbag Philosopher. There’s a real sense of fun in these songs, even if occasionally that fun is probably only experienced by the performers themselves. Yet if they stick to the naggingly infectious formula of their best work, they could become a small but perfectly formed section of the Leeds’ indie club.