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London Camden Monarch

They're a fine addition to one of pop's most anomalous canons nonetheless.

London Camden Monarch

"Notice this is a Scottish accent," spits Cosmic Rough Riders' singer Daniel Wylie a touch defensively. "Not an American one." Although clearly the owner of a fine Caledonian brogue, you can see why he'd want to clarify the point. Because - like many Glaswegian bands before - they try to convince us that Scotland isn't really northern Britain, but instead floats just off the American West Coast.

Obsessed with Teenage Fanclub as much as The Byrds and The Beach Boys, guitars jangle and harmonies come fast and flawless. They deal in songwriting classicism - which is all too often shorthand for a lazy lack of individuality, but here it seems churlish to complain when songs come as sprightly and bright-eyed as 'Melanie' or recent single 'The Loser'. Especially as this is more a loving homage to their heroes than an irritating pastiche, and 'You've Got Me' adds a measure of REM's yearning strum to such chirpy country pop revivalism.

There is, however, the odd bleak lyrical cloud - songs about stalkers, junkies and twisted love - on the horizon of their sunny disposition. But for all that lyrical darkness, these are basically beautiful songs sung by charming wee fellas whose bottled summer spirit (their latest album is called 'Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine', after all) make Coldplay look like deranged serial killers.

As more Scots become enamoured of the golden sonic stretches of California, originality is hardly an issue. But they're a fine addition to one of pop's most anomalous canons nonetheless.

Jim Alexander

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