Umlaut - Winter Coat

Bill Cummings 10/10/2005

Rating: 4/5

What with the NME declaring that Sheffield is now the "New Yorkshire" it seems kind of quaint that a good few months ago I first heard Sheffield's Umlaut and their refreshingly shambling lo fi indie demo. Now firmly on they're way to wider acclaim, with the support of new record label Fantastic Plastic, and this their first single “Winter Coat”. Beginning with a John Shuttleworth-esque casio keyboard tune, before revealing am angular yet reticent rhythm, a set of janging guitars and a vocal that's gloriously fey and wistful, it sounds like the Wedding Present kissing Belle and Sebastian on the lips. There's a joyful innocence to the Umlaut aesthetic, like staring at a crumpled photograph of one of your past girlfriends and remembering what might have been, their lyrics revel in those small, quiet, precious memories with a lyrical cleverness, and northern charm. (“Your crazy laugh it is dangerously high it smashed thousands of mirrors/So I closed my eyes and thought about your voice and how soft it sounds”).

Umlaut may be too lo-fi for some but, for the rest of us, Umlaut will make us fall in love with our indie pop childhood all over again.