It's boom-time for British country and well-shod young bands to hoof into view, making for a more pleasant CD pile than when everyone was trying to be art-garage. It's all a big illusion though: these British risers compete with each-other on a roughly level playing field, yet stick any of 'em alongside a randomly selected amateur Texan bar-band and they'd collapse, overwhelmed by redneck reality check. We are pasty-faced liberal limeys to a man. Rant interrupted by Pacific Ocean Fire wobbling centre-stage with a wooden bucket full of charm and sincerity. Their new five song 'Roadsigns' collection is deep in the 'nice' end of the country market, oozing Neil Young crooning and gentle slide, where others rough it up against Calexico.
P.O.F. play it low key. We're at walking-pace, loose and rose-tinted. Heart-on-sleeve pastoral romantics, they use heavy doses of colliery-tinged brass to fill out the low budget small-room sound. Promising. They're a fraudulent treat and thoroughly enjoyable for it.
If there's a weakness it's in the looseness that slips once too often into true slackery, either contrived or just badly played. And I'm not quite convinced by the songs yet - though it's unfair to judge this earlier in the hearing, on such limited resources. As the sun sets P.O.F. have pulled off an away win and they're heading towards something proper and excellent. The softer than Gram territory briefly occupied by wonderful Scots Hobotalk (remember them?). Go to it.
6Toby Jarvis's Score