As an offcut from recent, cherishable fourth album 'Alive to Every Smile', if you bought said record this is telling you nothing you don't already know. On the other hand, it's got a heart-filling expanse in it that is well worth the outlay if you bear in mind that most other releases of the moment seem to concentrate more on freezing you out or on taking every nick and tear in your sanity and screwing it down into an angry, noisy knot. That can be a good thing too, but - oh, hell, was there a point to this? - all I'm saying is that in the small hours, beset by urban cramp, the sotto voce understatement of 'Home and Dry' coupled with the sheer... otherness of a vivid sunset sleeve shot on a recent American tour is like hot milky tea at the end of a long day. Except drunk in the middle of a summer's evening in the middle of nowhere. And it's probably best accompanied by one, if your local park's gates are easily climbed. But even listening indoors, before you know it the room's full of little strands of drifting slide guitar like spider's webs on the breeze.
Taking this into account, third song 'It's easier to smile' comes as a bit of a surprise: it's a sprightly, synth-bassed, up-tempo pop number which is probably at least as significant in terms of Bob Wratten biographical trainspotting as it is musically. For here, for the first time in a long time, our recalcitrant hero dusts himself off, surveys the yearnings of yesteryear, coughs embarrassedly and admits that "Hearts will mend if you only let them [...] I'll be alright." It's far from the last word, but it's nice to see TBS diversify; their delicate appeal is too easily dismissed as fey and insubstantial on the basis of casual listening, and this single should challenge that somewhat. We can but wait and see what happens next.
8Kate Dornan's Score