The Hornblower Brothers - Adventures in the National Georgraphic

Owain Paciuszko 21/11/2009

Rating: 4/5

Brightonian quitent's debut EP manages to bottle the sweet, quirky, off-beat ramshackle sound of their live show with consumate skill. Opening track Android With A Heart introduces you to lead singer Als Johnstone's squeaky Graham Coxon-ish vocal delivery and the band's buoyant Northern style. Lyrically erudite, the band manage to conjure up relatable yet utterly obscure musical tapestries that seem to soundtrack misty-eyed memories of innocence, love and childhood. Aww.

Muggy Morning bounds along with a linear narrative sung with a wry delivery, jangly guitars intermingling with a memorable melodica from Gary Cox. Shooting Star bundles forward with a synthy keyboard line and glockenspiel that recalls Los Campesinos! doing battle with The Zutons played at double speed, it's somehow reminscent of all manner of things yet utterly unique all at once and all the more charming for it. There is, regardless of any potential influences, a lack of self awareness that allows The Hornblower Brothers to create music that feels totally unself-conscious (if indeed that is a term!).

Motoring along into the final track you are left with a slight slump because, well, that was it... you want more! Closing gambit Middle Class Hero has a sing-a-long chorus of 'I'm all right!' and a catchy lead riff, like Sham 69 playing a school disco it's rambunctious and anarchic in a kind of Grange Hill way.

As far as debut EPs go this is pretty damn fantastic; albeit a frustratingly stunted glimpse at a band who fully deserve the slow build of attention coming their way.