Alphabet Backwards - The Superhero EP
Owain Paciuszko 20/01/2011
This three track EP from Oxford twee-pop quintent is a little sugary confection, all wide-eyed bittersweet girl/boy vocals, lively tempos and minature heart swells. It's all a bit Stornaway sans the arch-folkiness on opening track Collide, fortunately the introduction of kooky synths enlivens what could become another cookie-cutter emotive pop ditty. Lyrically the track runs a stream-of-consciousness like list of thoughts from a need to do up your shoe-laces to bouncing like a trampoline, which is kind of standard lyrical fare for twee-pop. It's gratingly cuddly, but hoisted up onto the shoulders of the fun, cheesy instrumentation it escapes any real vitriol.
Blink of an Eye starts lively, synths sounding like the introduction to Street Fighter II, whilst the track seems generally content to remain a constant up-beat, boppy flurry of yearning, the lyric 'our lips have got all the time in the world/to be together and...' repeating over and over with a whisper of desperation. It's a bit by the book for this genre; the frantic pacing, the on-the-edge vocals, but it's a passable familiarity.
Closing track Yesterday In June has a little squeeze of sadness running through its sobering guitar line, lumbering sobs of bass and jittery drums. Whilst vocally it sounds like Nizlopi and its cutesy lyrics to a small disservice to the grumpy tones, whilst the sudden inclusion of an exuberant aside about running through the city is short-lived and pointless, while its twinkly end is mawkish and simpering, lacking any kind of emotional punch that is usually one of the defining features of twee bands.
Alphabet Backwards have got some skill arranging a tune, though sometimes its blurred by an over abundance of vocals that detract from, rather than add to, the music. Occasionally they seem to know that less is more, but for the most part you'd like to have your hands on the faders at the mix stage and redress the balance.