The band name and album title suggest a disliking of the Post Office and the cover art depicts moody, painted skies… I’m expecting some retrospective analysis of the dreary UK here, from this Belfast five piece.

Immediately after pressing play, the bright acoustic guitar chords on ‘Goldstar’ suggest a sunnier disposition, but the lyrics contain a wry sense of humour and dry wit. Vocalist Daniel Todd sings in a relaxed but captivating fashion, reminiscent of The Whitest Boy Alive, sounding west coast USA with its fresh, layered keyboard pad sounds and dramatic, wave-like crash symbols.

‘Make You Feel Better’ goes even more Americana, with twanging guitar picks, slide and plodding drum beat. ‘Lost At Sea’ increases the tempo, as if they have just hopped on a train heading south, as Daniel tells of when his friends supposedly dumped him.

‘Good Human’ would be at home on the Beck album ‘Sea Change’ with its mellow, layered vocal and lazy beat. ‘Flick of The Wrist’ sounds like the beginning of Father Ted, for a while, and is aptly playful. ‘A Promise Wearing Thin’ could be the Animal Collective if they’d had half their equipment stolen and ‘Oh Pity’ goes back to Beck with a hint of Elliott Smith.

‘Light House’ introduces a funky bassline which reminds me of Zero 7; the simple and addictive guitar riff cuts through and it’s noticeable when it stops briefly during the bridge, making an impact on its return. This is more like the Stone Roses than Beach Boys, now, and for me is the highlight of the album… and thankfully the longest tune. The bassist gets into it more towards the end after being joined by a string section, before the mantra “this ain’t the day, this ain’t the day…” builds to the crescendo.

‘Goodbye Friend’ seems run of the mill before it goes the way of The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’ and, to be honest, a little doolally and bowlegged.

‘&6’ ends the Anglo-American journey with a bit of melancholy and thought provoking rain which leaves me wondering how to pigeon hole this band. Due to the selection of possible influences that come and go from track to track they are hard to pin down. But I can say for sure the experience was pleasant and entertaining.

Jumbling the sounds of a load of bands that I like can only result in a positive response, if done well, and this album is most certainly well put together. A DJ set from the band could be epic. Did I mention The Flaming Lips? I think I should.

Mancunia meets California, via Belfast.

Release Date 20th June 2011 (Bella Union)

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.