Olympians - Untitled Demonstration Materials

Owain Paciuszko 21/03/2010

Rating: 4/5

Things start fantastically with the beautiful and beguiling pop-skitter of North Sea, soothing trumpet eases in and out of a lazy, jazzy rhythm and lead-singer before a glorious electric guitar kicks on a sing-a-long chorus of 'Should the North Sea swallow my house!' The band then mingles their lighter sound with erratic time signatures, drawing this delicious track to a charming conclusion.

Could You Face follows similar suit, but is no less appealing as a result, the use of brass really adding richness to the mix. Here the songs ebbs and eddies see them resembling a low-key Arcade Fire, with vocals pleasantly cracked and wonky. Meanwhile Underwater opens with languidly plucked guitars creating a woozy, sea shanty of sound. 'You'll find me resolutely underwater' chime the voices of this quartet, hazily blanketing the ears with a warm, comforting and reassuring chorus. With the accompaniment of distant woops and chatter there's a nice supper club jazz vibe to the outro of this track, recalling Erik Truffaz or even Beirut's chilled moments.

This four track ends with Let's Pretend These Things Are OK, Yeah?, which has a psychedelic swagger, guitars frantically racing up and down, and group vocals like a fireside Muppet hippy sing-a-long. It builds carefully and craftily, teasing the senses with stop-starts and a sense of impending joy; they tip-toe around the obvious, creating a finale that's both triumphant yet oddly muted, drifting into a closing chant of; 'Take what you can, they won't believe it now, in spite of all this.' Which is a peculiar and oblique sentiment, but one that still manages to resonate even if its meaning is elusive.

A hugely accomplished and buoyant record, which instantly bookmarks this band as ones to keep listening to. Here they've created a wonderful EP that fits snugly together as one happy little journey into a quirky, off-beat and satisfying world.