Ola Pordrida - Ola Pordrida

George Bass 12/04/2007

Rating: 4/5

Like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith before him, David Wingo is a bloke who earnt his artistic stripes whilst serving in the video rental infantry. However, in contrast to his flashier peers, he's kept his output professionally lean and has honed his frontline solidarity instead of flogging it off to earn dosh through production cameos. His scores for thumbed-up indie flicks All The Real Girls and The Guatemalan Handshake marked him out as a bleep-and-a-half on the soundtrack radar, and the release of his band debut as Ola Podrida sees him putting his hand up for some attention as a standalone musician - something he obviously deserves going by the forty-six minutes of his first album, where he quickly assets himself as a bloke who doesn't need a clapperboard to spring into action.

The particular flavour of guitarplay Wingo uses to convey his ideas could be likened to the wholesome psychedelia of the Akron/Family, but there's something altogether more powerful hiding beneath its folky meniscus, something focused through a series of lenses and bright enough to tattoo pink screenburn onto your retinas for the best part of a day. Photo Booth is a three-and-a-half minute broth of cilia-like acoustics and foggy electric twangs that combine to cultivate a wasteland nostalgia scene, something burnt and dusty where a posse of cowboys saddle up to take potshots at Fleetwood Mac's Albatross. Other examples of this desert life can be found in abundance on the album - Jordanna recalls Adam Duritz and pals at their most serene, back in the era where they were taking a David-and-Goliath stand against an army of grunge. As a result, Run Off The Road sounds ironic in its insertion in the setlist, ringing out like Cockney Rebel on a road trip while listening to the unplugged bits of Siamese Dream.

The whole album is drenched in a synaesthetic aural sunlight, and Wingo harnesses his ability to score features with a tame yet plentiful solar-powered energy. The New Science dispels any connotations of brow-knitting seriousness implied by the magazine of a similar name by twisting a strummed waltz around some Hammond organ photons, whereas Instead perfectly frames the bleached-out Azure ennui precipitated by a teenage heatwave. Vocally, Wingo's hoarse introspection concentrates more on detail than the wider morality, and therefore eschews the beard-stroking hubris that could easily sneak into these kind of songs. On Day At The Beach, he records the decay of a relationship in an afternoon by the briny. 'Play in the waves like a five-year-old/Timing my jumps with the rolling tide/Never looked to see you on the shore/Planning your escape/Drying your eyes'. Eat that, Mike Skinner. He displays a similar flair with his instruments as he does with his tongue, and isn't afraid to kick up a fuss in the studio if you're after something a bit less scant. Cindy is the most conventionally lively track on the record; a burst of jilted Americana and escalating guitar swooshes that build in tension like a round of Jenga. By contrast, Pour Me Another is a calmer-downer, and puts you back in your seat with a tearkjerking piano loop and the lost lyrical innocence of Dan Treacy when he's got his head screwed on. 'I am the one you waited for/So stop looking all over town/Don't you like the way I sing this song/Don't you like the way I dance'.

David Wingo's apprenticeship in the cutting room has given him a firm fixture for his first stint in the studio. The eleven tracks on his debut click together like Lego, and almost every piece exudes a horizon-shimmering brilliance as hot as a high-noon hatchback. It might be pre-emptive seeing as the clocks have only just gone forward, but Ola Podrida could easily serve as the album of the summer - not the tropically tanned montages that the leaflets promote, but the wasp-addled Bank Holiday picnic of reality, caked in molten tarmac and teeming with frustrated children. This is Bonnie 'Prince' Billy for people with sunburn.