Attack and Defend - Owl Ep

Bill Cummings 20/03/2006

Rating: 3/5

Cardiff-based beat combo Attack And Defend release their first EP on the 20th of March on Boobytrap Records. According to their self-effacing DIY press release, “they invent and perform music in the country-tinged electro-indie-disco mould. They make songs about mass consumption, gypsies and wind turbines and history. Constructed using three brothers from a farm and a beardo.” Indeed they are the latest in a long line of Welsh eccentrics to tumble down from the mountains and into the music industry, picking the flower buds from folk types Gorky Zygotic Mynci and imbuing them with the crafty pop beats of early Super Furry Animals. Opener “More” struts along with an infectious skitting beat and Mark's slightly off key Blur-esque drawl, distorted vocal counts and a squelchy guitar piercing the body of a Hammond organ solo.

“Don't play With The Gypsies In The Wood” is the other side of Attack… a country style strum along that's slightly hamstrung by Mark's slightly out of tune vocal, and rhythmic backing vocals the first half of this track contains some nice ideas but they aren't well executed, its only in the twee second half, when the flutes and buzzing feedback kick in and it sounds like the Beta Band meeting the Coral in some woods, that this becomes something more ultimately satisfying and interesting. And it's this ability to change tack half way through a song that will surely be Attack And Defend's trump card in future years. I'm put in mind of the way the Furries often built up their songs with folky melancholia before unleashing all kinds of techno freakery on our ears. “Posh It Up” is a punky take on 60s psychedelia, while closer “Dreamfit” is one of the best things here, bouncy guitars and a playful summery vocal (”Shimmy on the dacefloor/ Make it all better/ Well I'm happy happy happy yeah yeah yeah yeah,”) there's always the sense that Attack and Defend have more up their sleeve too.

Attack and Defend are promising, not musically the finished article, this debut ep is too weighed down by Mark's slightly off key vocals (that do grate on occasion.) But they have enough inventive ideas, tricky time patterns and a sense of individuality to mark them out as ones for the future. And well if Charlotte Church, The Automatic and the 'Phonics are anything to go by, we desperately need the return of Welsh eccentric music makers in these parts.