“Night falls down on a station town / And the truth has been delayed”.
So begins the first foray into the long-playing medium by the London-On-Sea-centric (that’s ‘Brighton-based’, by the way) Villareal. Considering the sweet sonic force that greeted their set under canvas at last year’s Truck festival (whose studios are used to record this here album), it seems to start more subdued than expected – reminiscent, for all you indie fans out there, of many a downbeat-pop lovely like Low or even Labtop. Except this has something else, something that bit more, whether it be a notable understanding of melodic wizardry, or a touch of ethereal and cosmic depth, or simply the initiative to have written some really good songs and feel the need to play them.
Despite the gruff and wryly contemplative insights into the mind of frontperson Simon Parker, musically there are many opportunities where a sunnier disposition is displayed. ‘Just Like An Aeroplane’ has the sky-high psyche-guitar tunefulness that the title suggests, and tracks like ‘Seahorses’ and ‘Silver Key’ sound so breezy they could warrant their own forecast. At times they recall the toned-down pop melancholy of Belle & Seb from a time when they won Brits instead of Scots, and at others they could pass for wry alt.country remixed using sparse electronica (let’s say, ooh, The Broken Family Band vs. Matmos). However they seem most at ease creating slow-building and bright-burning demi-anthems like ‘King Of The Sun’ and ‘The Haunted Dollar’, adding until on the edge of overpowering but never toppling over. Oh, and don’t be surprised if the cinematic nature of the reprisal title track is ever taken seriously, we bet that’ll be a film worth seeing. Impressive.
8Thomas Blatchford's Score