Swimmer One, The Sweethearts - Largs Hum/Cloudbusting, Blue Skies/Rainy Skies

Bill Cummings 27/02/2006

Rating: 4/5

From Dogbox Records, the people that brought you such delightful offerings from Luxembourg and the Bridge Gang, comes a double free download release (with these treats you are truely spoiling us, Dogbox!)

The first two downloads come from Scottish electro pop duo Swimmer One, "Largs Hum" is gorgeously building piece of throbbing electro-pop built on a stuttering beat. It's the sound of Berlin-era Bowie being tied up under the stairs of a sex shop with the seedy electro of Soft Cell and the grandiose melodic pop of the Pet Shop Boys. The guest vocals are supplied by punk poet legend Rodney Relax, a "tourist tour to Scottish coastal towns conducted by a man who is either a paranoid schizophrenic or the only sane person in Scotland". The vocals build and build to a cresendo full of introspective melodrama, the lyrics revealing whole inner worlds: "My head is full /but my heart is empty/I don't think that anyone can save me here".

The b-side "Cloudbusting" is a Kate Bush cover originally conceived before the Futureheads and before it became "cool" to like Kate again. In some ways it's a pretty straightforward retread but the electro squelches, driving beat and the faint sense of danger that exists within the snaking vocal lines and melody push this into the 'worthwhile cover' category.

The second double download comes from sweet Cumbrian indie pop threesome The Sweethearts. Like the cherubic summer offspring of Belle And Sebastian, The Sweethearts are a sugary (excuse the pun) female jangle indie pop. Track one, "Blue Skies" is a neat little banjo strum, upon which bounce cutesy female vocals that trade, volleyball-style, melodies back and forth, a bright sunshine song for a pleasant picnic maybe? Second up is "Rainy Skies" which is probably less successful, picked out banjo parts are topped by a more plaintative feminine vocal part. There's just a lack of a real tune here, the fay-ness of it all just overwhelms the melody and before you know it its over, nice but really not as good as "Blue Skies."

So there you have it, a double offering of treats from Dogbox who continue to delight and surprise with their beguiling unique pop offerings. Perhaps the new pop revolution is on its way?