Indie-pop and emo, two genres which not only allow me to exert my masculinity in a massive way, but also allow me to exhibit my unhealthy penchant for sarcasm. Joking aside, whilst I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, the two which keep me coming back are these. As such, when I saw that London-based 'softpunx' Playlounge had their debut album Pilot due for release, I knew I had to hear it.
From the first jangle and single chord opening of first track 'I Am A Lion', I knew this was going to be an album I would love; the rough production only adding to it's charm. Is it an album for everyone though? The short answer is probably not. Should you already have an interest in current emo/softpunk scene and get your kicks from the likes of Johnny Foreigner or Nai Harvest then there's a lot for you to love here. If you prefer your indie a little more straight-forward, polished or fueled on a cocktail of warm Carling and testosterone, then you're best looking elsewhere.
Bringing to mind the likes of The Promise Ring and Braid, the majority of the record leans more towards the emo side of things, whilst the understated female vocal and understated xylophone in tracks such as 'Skulls' bring to mind acts such as Heavenly in a great way. It's a record that's both fantastically nostalgic, whilst at the same time being very much a product of the scene in which it was conceived. Arguably it's never going to have the same commercial appeal as the generation of emo that popularised (or sodomised) the genre ten years ago. But that's what's so great about it; the records can get away with upholding a raw, unpolished aesthetic without worrying about losing sales.
Of course, there are tracks which will appeal to fans of more generic, NM-indie. 'Daisy Chain' for instance recalls a rawer, less heroin-y Libertines. The record's detractors, too, will of course say that it all sounds the same and for those not interested in the genre in the first place it probably will. However it's worth noting that records of this kind aren't made with the idea of winning over new fans, the DIY aesthetic keeping it within it's target audience. For those who like their punk emotional, and their guitars jangly however, then Pilot could very well be one of your favourite albums of this year. Seriously.
Pilot is available from iTunes (here).