Lets Wrestle, Screaming Tea Party - 3 Stolen Singles.
Angus Reid 10/12/2007
26th Nov: 'I won't lie to you' Lets Wrestle SR012d
3rd Dec: 'Holy Disaster' Screaming Tea Party SR013d
10th Dec: 'Lucy' Artefacts for Space Travel SR014d
Three singles in quick succession from Stolen, a label I've always had the utmost respect for. Three quite varied singles it would seem, with a bit of everything from hushed 60s nostalgia to buzzing rock'n'roll to jabbering skittish indie (in the best sense of the term).
Kicking off with the first single, “I Won't Lie To You” is a reminder of the days before 'indie' became a catch all term for hyper-marketed Kaiser Monkeys polished pap and instead meant something truly independent. Let's Wrestle seem to specialise in buzzing, demented guitar workouts scratching the underbelly of a simple, yet infuriatingly catchy melody. There's a very distinct lo-fi, ramshackle charm to this song and it's got under your skin before the first chorus has even finished. As if that weren't enough to have you listening attentively, the lyrics demand to be heard, just to figure out what's going on in this little world. Did he just say someone's hair was on fire? I think he did… what else is happening? Genius.
Lets Wrestle are complemented surprisingly well by the next single from Screaming Tea Party, normally a bunch of mentalists themselves, as they dial the pace down to 'effortless glide' and run through what could easily be a lost gem from the 50s or 60s. Again, we're in catchy melody territory here, and this swine has refused to get out of my head for weeks. It's beautiful, and ever so slightly spectral in the way it swoops. As a polar opposite to the first single, I've got no idea what the words are here, the vocals just hover above the song like a ghostly presence. It's achingly perfect, the best of the three and exactly the kind of thing that makes Stolen so highly regarded.
With the bar set so high with the previous efforts, it's perhaps only to be expected that Artefacts For Space Travel fall a little short of the mark. “Lucy” is the kind of fizzing rock'n'roll that Let's Wrestle do, but it's like everything has been turned down a little - the style, the swagger, the scratchy, fidgeting guitar sound. It's not a bad song by any means, in fact it's really rather good, it's just that when it's been preceded by two fantastic singles, it can't quite match up. That said, I'd still recommend all three songs. They fit together rather nicely as a trio, and are infinitely better than 99% of the stuff released in December (not just records either). Pick them all up and spend Christmas in a wistful nostalgia fest for the days when all records seemed to be this good.
Let's Wrestle- 4
Screaming Tea Party- 4.5
Artefacts For Space Travel