Attack and Defend - Theme

Owain Paciuszko 11/03/2009

Rating: 4/5

Second album from Cardiff-based brothers Thomas is The Empire Strikes Back compared to 2007's A New Hope, aka. Make. Opening with the fuzzy, fun-fair ride of Back Off My Hands that segues neatly into the spry and hyperactive Smash and Grab, there's still that same buoyant nature that permeated tracks such as D.N.A. and For Phaelon Four but there's a scuzzy dark edge that deepens its shadows as the album progresses.

Documentary is a schizophrenic anthem of dreams gone awry, the realisation that the things you thought you'd be when you were younger aren't necessarily the things you'll be when you grow up. But it's not a maudlin piece, it falls somewhere between The Pixies being remixed by Fuck Buttons and brings Attack + Defend's spikier sensibilities to the fore.

This is a more experimental album from the band, but what remains is their knack for crafting memorable melodies and hooks in much the same way as an act like Pavementcould; it's the ability to be 'pop' whilst remaining very much an outsider that keeps you coming back to this record or just singing it to yourself throughout the day. This, That and the Other showcases the intelligence and wry humour of their lyric writing ('Nothing gets assembled in the assembly'), as does Leaps and Bounds that compares the feats of the bewinged against those of the sans-wings.

The quirky card is played once in this record on Pineapples, but its cutesy lyrics are contrasted with a sense of the ironic and percussive flourishes courtesy of Super Furry Animals's Kris Jenkins on production duties. The record closes with Dialing, the strongest track on the album, it plays the vocals of Mark and JT against one another as a brilliant tag-team, before all three brothers come together for the final cacophonous finale. Not only does it illustrate the superb production of this record, but also the wildly imaginative composition and song-writing craft that Attack + Defend possess in spades.