Litterbug - Speaking Through The Gaps

Speaking Through The Gaps EP

Angelic la la’s set to rocking backdrop with a heavily reverbed, clean guitar matching the vocal melody sums up the opener, ‘Laugh Out Load’, in a nutshell. The production is a bit muddy, and the song has a somewhat loose structure, with Stuart Diggle’s vocal popping up only a couple of times to distract you from Karima Francis’ Alison Crane-like warblings. However, the combination of heavy music and serine vocals is rarely heard, making for the sort of track that grabs your attention.

The same set-up continues with ‘Jenny Sparkles’, only this time Diggle’s vocal, which owes much to Mark E Smith and a little to John Lydon, has a bigger part to play. Francis’ vox is ever-present, but this time the trade-off between the two brings to mind the sort of light and dark shades the Sisters of Mercy used to deal in, only here it is not quite so dark, being firmly rooted in indie rock.

‘Open Space’ breaks the pattern by providing a left-of-centre, quirky track that gives a large nod to the likes of Sonic Youth. ‘A Simple Contradiction’ then picks the pace up with a bass-driven track leaning heavily on the chugging guitars and the impressive display of vocal layering in the chorus.

Experimental in nature (as are most of the seven tracks here) ‘Smile is Fake’ takes things to a different level with three minutes of unnerving angst. Yes, it’s the vocals that conjure most of this, but the off-kilter guitar, sounding like it was ripped from another track, plays a jarring melody allowing you no room for comfort.

‘Looking Back Then’ and ‘Subhuman Scum’ close the album with another edgy rocker and a dark, evil-tinged number, respectively.

Given that all these tracks were recorded back in August 2005 with ‘minimal after work to guarantee that the basic feel… didn’t get misplaced in a cloud of digital superiority’, the record stands up quite well. Yes, I could bang on about production values, song structures and all that stuff, but that’s not really the point here.

What’s important is that Litterbug have found their own sound, which is uniquely theirs. It takes some bands years to find while most never really manage it, and to crack it so early is testament to Litterbug’s goldmine of potential. They just now need to sharpen up all those other surrounding factors.

Written by Habert on

Pete Habert was sub-editor for The Mag and co-ordinated submissions from the swarm of writers that contributed articles from their local music scenes.

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