Haunting with bell-like piano chimes before crashing into action is the way forward to Tetra Splendour, the up and coming quartet from Porthcawl, who are, in the opinion of some, unfairly dubbed as Toploader: Part II. And quiet to loud, the crescendo, is the way they do it on 'Global Village', with it's socially concerned lyrics. It's an extremely likeable rock and roll strumalong, a good pop song all round. Which sums up the rest of the album neatly.
So where are the supposed jazz influences, when all I can hear is the Levellers made good on 'ETA'? Not on the credible REM pastiche the live favourite 'Pollen Fever', eerily reminiscent of Michael Stipe during the almost acapella section at the end. Rootsy blues guitars on a ska beat, a la Black Crowes is warming on 'Bless My Soul', but the singer's voice begins to grate as he approaches the nasal echelons. 'Muriel's motorhome' is like a homage to the Eels, another meandering ballad, done with the sincerity that a great deal of the faux nu-acoustic bands would kill for. A Perfect prelude to my favourite track, the excellent 'Mr Bishi', with witty lyricism and that feelgood thing. This backs up the second rock and roll stomper that is 'De-Rail'. It's only when they get reflective and slow that they begin to annoy you.
The jazz influences I'd heard so much about finally arrive, on 'CFC's', with it's intelligent lyrics and it's social conscience, which appears to be a recurring theme that TS are all about. And it's the same Jazz influences that close the show, on the excellent 'Black and Grey'. A promising debut that doesn't quite deliver.
6Sajini Wijetilleka's Score