I first found Envelopes earlier in the year, propping up the bill on the Birmingham leg of a Tom Vek and Clor tour. Envelopes were by far the most sophisticated and interesting band on the bill, blasting out a wonderful summery sound, song after memorable song - they blinded me with their glittering pop-ness, gorgeous guitars dripping melody and smiles, shimmering with distortion and wry politeness, hop-skip-jumping from C86 to '90s college rock to Right Now, and picking up the best parts of everything along the way.
The first few notes of their debut album Demon tangle across the page like the first fat raindrops of a storm bursting on the Pavement, then it's straight into 'It Is The Law' with its engagingly ruffled structure, new sections constantly dropping in and fading out, recurring motifs and picked lead sections. Basslines evolve around crunching guitars, and the squelching synth lines draw happy crayon shapes over everything. The guitar sounds are never the same for more than a few bars - clean strumming, old-fashioned reverbed picking, then raw distorted chopping for the rhythm, then buzzy lead sections; anyone who plays guitar will be impressed by the range of sounds squeezed into every song. Henrik and Audrey trade vocals well, and the drumming is disciplined, often quite understated but alternately powerful for the louder parts. This band can really play.
Envelopes are my favourite new band of 2005, and Demon is an excellent debut - there isn't a single track that you'd want to skip over, a little like the early albums by such revered bands as Pavement and the Pixies. It's a little too early to bracket Envelopes into that category, but Demon is the perfect start.
9John Brainlove's Score