Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Little Man Tate – About What You Know 29/01/07

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 9:29 pm

Little Man Tate – About What You Know

Of all the proposed British albums that were promised to arrive in 2007, this offering was, for me, as highly anticipated as new LPs from the likes of Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse and Radiohead. Far more than just another indie band, Little Man Tate are an act of real intelligence and inegrity, who graced 2006 with a plethora of wonderfully simple yet brilliant indie pop songs such as The Agent and that joyful ode to good times that was House Party At Boothy’s. As with another well known Sheffield band, their demos were swapped around internet forums with glowing recommendations from those in the know, and many of these found their way onto my hard drive. I was blown away by what I heard then, and am somehow even more impressed by the studio cuts that have found their way onto this 12 song (well 11 + the bonus one) modern masterclass in how to make a great guitar album.

Man I Hate Your Band is the perfect opener, with its tantalising intro leading onto a well-crafted rant at the pointless scene bands that populate the British music industry. A perfect one-line sing-along chorus constructed from the title followed by a roudy outro demonstrates the simple fun aesthitic that fills this record and makes it such a joy to listen.

Other old favourites grace the track listing here as the dirty delight that is Down on Marie closes proceedings, with visits to old friends as This Girl Isn’t My Girlfriend and Court Report along the way. Lyrics are packed with witty one liners (“I thought are those great boobs or a wonderbra”) and tackle subjects like cross dressing hooligans, showing a band with a great humour and gift for creating real, interesting characters in smart pop songs.

Of the entirely new tracks, Little Big Man is probably the stand out, taking the best bits of Kaiser Chiefs and The Jam, with added hand claps and ‘ooh ooh’ chorus. The inclusion of This Must Be Love is the reason why there is no Hello Miss Lovely (So You Like My Jeans), with the thought that one slightly soppier moment was enough. It does show a softer side to the band, and unlike so many of their peers, deals with real moments and situations concerning modern romance (“You said ‘well do you love me?’/I said well I think you’re fit.”)

Who Invented These Lists is in similar vein to Bromhead’s Jacket’s Celebrityism and Just Jack’s Stars in Their Eyes and is just as cynical and clever a take on the world that Heat magazine commentates on so religously.

There’s no pretension here. There are no gimmicks. This is just a collection of big anthems that every 16-25 year old in this country will find something the relates to their own life in. Such 3 minute wonders as Sexy In Latin tell tales that could happen to anyone out there (“we stay out drinking in the park/ I walk you home after dark”) and it’s this everyman attitude that is this band’s biggest attraction.

Alex Turner may have been the one to re-invigorate the northern indie scene with his kitchen sink dramas, and while Little Man Tate may not have that insightfulness that turned Arctic Monkeys into such a phenomena, they have shown here that can write just as fantastic pop tunes as the best of them. The album every British rock ‘n’ roll band want to make. Marks off for not including The Agent though.



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