St Vitus Dance - Glypotheque

Will Metcalfe 05/04/2008

Rating: 4/5

St Vitus Dance's last record 'Love Me, Love My Dogma' was release 21 years ago, yet the wait that followed somehow didn't receive the hype and speculation that surrounds the ever imminent 'Chinese Democracy', thankfully. The reformation of St. Vitus Dance came through a one off show, as these things so often do, back in 2005 and 3 years on 'Glypotheque' has surfaced documenting a band very much in the debt of the Merseybeat movement. From the guitar tone to the pots and pan style drums it's there, it's incessant-yet it brings with it an endearing charm; on 'Winners All' you can almost see the mopped tops, the wry smiles and the cheeky winks, marvellous.

It may be a well trodden formula but there is undoubtedly something to say for music with such a charming naivety; rather than go all out in a vain attempt to recreate the face of music or some other far fetched cliché, St Vitus Dance undoubtedly know their strengths and they play by them. 'The Stakeholder's Lament' could well be ripped from fellow Peel favourites Murry the Hump and plods along with a self satisfied swing, remarking 'you are what cynicism was made for'.

The real Mersey beat sound comes through on 'Gamblin' Man' a whisky throat led lament accompanied by mandolin and a bassline sweeter than a thousand Granny Smiths. 'Glypotheque' is a record characterised by these excursions into musical heritage, the title track is possibly the best thing in terms of 60s revivalism this side of bewildered fuckwit Anton Newcombe. The simplicity, the innocence of it all is infectious; I mean, do you really need those My Bloody Valentine records? Those effects pedals and abstract guitar tunings, really necessary are they? Well-of course they are, but the point is that St Vitus…manage to remind you that pop music can be and, more importantly, is important.

At times the formula becomes a little tiresome but the strength of the song craft manages to prevent any particular resentment, if anything 'Glypotheque' is guilty of sounding too established to be a new release. Yet, at the same time the familiarity of the material may well prove to be a major strength; sad that Echo & the Bunnymen got shit? 'Longfinger' manages t encapsulate just what made them great without reeking of plagiarism (interestingly enough frontman Burke found himself fronting Echo and the Bunnymen in the 90s, albeit for a short time). This record may not change your life, it may not change your record collection in an overt fashion but it will remind you about a few classic records you forgot you gave a damn about.