Astrid : Play Dead

Fair effort from Scottish indie fellers

A peculiar concept, this ‘perfect pop’ lark. Rather than describing, say, the product of a national pop talent contest, it’s a term more frequently slung at greying indie-plodders that have actually learnt to play their instruments, as opposed to just bashing away with atonal glee. With the chasm between pop and indie more gaping than ever, though, it’s a harsh time to be caught with loyalties split.

Bless Scottish four-piece Astrid – they’ve got little time for the yawnsome navel-gazing of their peers. “Can’t stand that lo-fi scene”, grins frontman William Campbell over the buoyant brass parp of ‘Crying Boy’ – despite its maudlin name, a song with all the sunny charm of Oasis’ ‘Round Are Way’ building sandcastles with The Boo Radleys’ ‘Wake Up Boo’. And bless ’em, you’ll want to squeeze their ruddy little cheeks when they’re pledging their love to a, uh, well-endowed ex-girlfriend on ‘Fat Girl’. But the odd dark cloud of amateurism muddies Astrid’s pure pop horizon; ‘Horror Movie’ can’t decide if it’s trying to get onto the next Daphne & Celeste album, or if it’s just a wee bit wet. Did we mention Astrid are chums with Belle & Sebastian?

The pop urge is there, but it’s not quite enough; ‘Play Dead’ is in mortal danger of falling into indie’s open grave.

Louis Pattison