The debut LP from this sparkling London five-piece has been a long time coming but it only takes a first listen to know it’s been well worth the wait. Up front is Brian Bryden with his quiff-and-specs rockabilly stylings, shaky Elvis leg, jangly guitar and a vulnerable voice that soars and quips in all the right places. Bree Wright is on keys and backing vocals, with the voice and the looks of the chicest femme fatale. The band, too are a driving force: live they’re a high-spirited Buzzcocks with the English pop sensibilities of The Housemartins and The Smiths. Indeed, Brian’s lyrics are witty, bittersweet, ferociously honest and at times, disarmingly beautiful – take Wading Birds – it’s one of those rare, heartrending songs that has the power to stop you in your tracks. He paints a bleak landscape too, littering his stories of love and lust with audaciously ugly words like ‘estuary’ and ‘dual carriageway’, delivered, of course in the most romantic of manners. A lush cacophony of strings comes from the very talented hands of A Little Orchestra – a relatively recent addition to the sound and one that works brilliantly.
The band can now boast a small army of faithful followers, having gigged extensively throughout the UK and mainland Europe, taking in festivals, live radio sessions and an array of music venues from the dingy to the distinguished. In other words, they’ve done their time, perfected their craft, performed their guts out, and now emerge as a band to be reckoned with. Don’t let the name persuade you otherwise: it’s time The Understudies stepped into the limelight.
“Fragile and robust in equal measures they stand out as unique in London’s music scene.” Indietracks.co.uk
“They make the kind of dreamy indiepop that Felt peddled in their prime, tinged with a caustic wit last seen dribbling from Luke Haines’ mouth.” Last.fm
“Their sophisticated indiepop is a blessing.” Drowned in Sound
“A standout band amongst the UK’s independent music scene.” AllinLondon.co.uk
Limited edition of 3oo copies.
Tracklist: Jackie / Wanting And Getting / Erika K / My Life Is Not A French Film / Signals Passed At Danger / Wading Birds / Shutterspeed / Flickknives / A Girl I Used To Knock About With / If I Come To You / Everyone Deserves At Least One Summer Of Love / Kestrels Of Normandy
Firestation Records FST108