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the-waletonesReleased: March 2015

There’s a definite formula to how and when labels release their new records, and it’s normally around this time of year that the first hints of summer start to creep into our ears, gearing us up for festivals and tours later in the year. When Gary Powell, Libertines man and owner of the record label The Waletones are signed to, started drawing up his schedule of releases this year this five-piece, formed at the University of West London, must have been the first to be pencilled in for that pre-summer period.

With jingle-jangle guitar fills and a melodicism that can only be rooted in early California sunshine pop, The Waletones embody the free-spirited style of summer-friendly indie pop, purpose-built for warm late evenings and dancing in the sun. Perhaps lacking in a little edge, Lookout! Here Come the Waletones is a very tame record, albeit one that never fails to charm.

This group has admitted to the influence of The Beach Boys, The Beatles and other early pop groups of that ilk, and from the beginning of opening track I Want Your Love this is more than evident. Filled with octave-climbing melodies and classic regimented harmonies, it showcases an old pop-rock aesthetic, whilst certainly recalling popular indie acts of recent years along the lines of The Kooks and Scouting for Girls. Lines such as “You’re the one I can’t resist / A modern girl with a ‘60s twist” tend to do more harm than good to the retro aesthetic, serving as shameless appeals to the vintage-obsessed Instagram generation, but for the most part theirs is a sound that implements old and new seamlessly.

The EP’s opening number sets the precedent for the rest of the record, as sweet melodies and simplistic yet affecting chord progressions fly through love ballads Cracks and I’d Carry You-respect to the latter for the inclusion of a slide guitar. It’s perfectly innocuous music and for the most part that’s fine, but it is easy to be found longing for something a bit grittier; we’ve been listening to bands like The Beatles for over fifty years at the end of the day. Nonetheless this debut EP is pleasant easy listening and far from a poor record.

Likely to prove a hit with the ladies, The Waletones’ first snippet of what they have to offer is an amicable selection of radio-friendly love songs. It’s not going to change the world, but if you’re looking for guitar pop that understands melody and minimalism you should look no further.

★★★

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