The Affair, an indie (lolli)pop band from across the Atlantic, here present their first UK release. Topping a sparse indie framework with exceptionally keyboardy keyboards (the ones that creak up and down in a endearingly laboured manner, sounding like they’re powered by bellows, rather than the 80s-patented swooshy ones), they mix hints of romantic girl pop with a stripped down punk-raggedness.
A marriage made in aesthetic heaven? Well, potentially… and yet, not quite. You can hear the edges of a coherent, energetic-yet-sweet sound under there, but that coherence is currently just a suggestion beneath the jarring edges of two contrasting sounds. As it stands, the pop’s tunefulness is undermined by the jerk-about style, and the punk never quite overcomes the pop sufficiently to acquire a driving energy. And so the two styles just end up pushing each other aside and jostling for the limelight: the listener is almost tempted to start yelling “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!” and settle into a ringside seat. An interesting listen, yes - but it just doesn’t sweep me along.
Of course, it could be that this is exactly the effect The Affair are aiming for - in which case they’re never gonna float my boat. Or it could be that somewhere in there is a powerful blending of two most-meritous genres, just struggling to form. We shall see; I await further developments with interest…