The Tupolev Ghost - The Alpha EP

Tom Blackburn 05/06/2008

Rating: 3.5/5

Sounding like Shellac nursing a particularly painful hangover, Cambridge quartet The Tupolev Ghost have been trading in a fine line of abrasive noise rock for nigh on three years, and The Alpha EP follows their Take Courage demo from 2006.

Their influences are as clear as day - as well as Albini's aforementioned outfit, the spectre Fugazi looms large and there's more than a hint of Slint - but The Tupolev Ghost are refreshingly different to most British bands at the moment. Opener 'First Prize' sets out the band's stall, lurching along with menace, packing bludgeoning riffs and intense vocal shrieks in its armoury.

But just when you think you've got The Tupolev Ghost neatly pegged and pigeonholed, they bowl a musical googly in the form of the ambitious 'Autodidact'. James Parrish turns in another impassioned vocal performance, veering from brittle croon to fire-and-brimstone holler, as the band behind him switch from mid-tempo seethe to punk freakout.

'Ambulances'knocks the lot into the proverbial cocked hat, though. Bouncing along with This Aint Vegas-esque energy, it's loaded with hooks and irresistible guitar interplay and makes for a gloriously melodic closer. The Alpha EP probably isn't quite as good as Take Courage, but it's another fine effort from an accomplished young band with huge potential.