Sometimes, you need to sit down. Don't you think? You can't always push forward and edge ever-closer to sitting on a rocking chair while you survey all you've conquered from the top of the hill. Sometimes you can sit on that rocking chair and not have to bother about walking forwards. And when you sit in that chair, Mittens will softly assemble themselves in your living room and play pop music for you. For that is what they write, and they write it like some people who know how to write it really goodly.
Fools On A Holiday is absolutely no challenge to listen to. It turns up, makes a wonderful noise for half an hour and then stops. Purity in approach reaps the reward of clarity in message. Opening ponder-fest 'Leeway' is this maxim personified. It starts all hopeful and waggy of tail, gets a bit sadder, then gets unbelievably triumphant. When the homophonic scales of guitar start to climb unstoppably you know we've reached some sort of victory. Then it stops for a second and we do it all again. Mmm, always repeat.
But not too much, yeah? The Byrds-like stomp mutates later into ballsy and crunching blues on 'Douglas' and plopping country balladry on the title track. Best of all, though, is the gently boinging inevitability of 'Ain't No Doubt About It', the acoustic clangs of which are as backbreaking as they are winsomely reminiscent of yesteryear. "Baby's got a big taste for disaster" quietly shrieks the vocal line in such a way that resonates with the wailing teen inside the middle-aged rejected walrus inside all of us.
There are a deceptively large range of colours to this record, sometimes very well-hidden and in need of digging out, but always just present enough to make the whole pop aesthetic immediately, immediately lovable. While the layman would reel off a list of ‘70s radio influences, the enlightened listener will appreciate the absolute simplicity, the snowy freshness and oven-baked crispness of Mittens' music. It's like back in biblical times when all the indie bands had to get by with the guitar-bass-drums set-up and, y'know, let the songs speak for themselves.
8Daniel Ross's Score