Standard Fare – Out of Sight, Out of Town

Rating: ★★★★☆

Recent years have seen a reemergence of power-pop, which really just adds up to kicking out hard-rocking tunes with a whole lot of sheen.  Sheffield’s Standard Fare definitely have an affinity for the purity of pop, and their newest album Out of Sight, Out of Town, will have you applauding for both its simplicity and quality.

Trickling guitar lines introduce you to Out of Sight, Out of Town by way of “The Look of Lust,” just as you meet the attractive vocals of Emma Cooper.  For a few moments, the band shows some restraint, softly approaching the main part of the song, which features a certain sharpness in song composition.  Little flares, such as changes in the vocal delivery and the addition of strings make this a track you’ll listen to years from now. As they move into “05 11 07” the pace is picked up, but the plot’s still the same, using the charming lyrics of Cooper to unite splendid guitar play.

But, just as you start to fall for the pattern, Standard Fare throw in a little bit more of a jangle your step, and theirs.  Clearly Emma is the star of the show on “Suitcase,” with an underlying bit of sexuality lurking beneath her vocals, reminiscent of Victoria Bergsman in a much more playful manner. However, the band isn’t content to just give you bubblegum pop from the female sort, as Danny How takes over on “Kicking Puddles.” This track has a real familiar feel to it, just with a heavier dose of guitars; it’s like Beach Fossils crashed into the UK pop museum. How also takes a lead role on “Bad Temper,” a song that definitely hits furious and fast.

While there’s a nice straight-forward pop theme on Out of Sight, Out of Town, it’s the band’s playfulness that really gives them the extra step above many of their peers.  The reggae rifts that permeate “Half Sister” demonstrate that the band’s still working on fleshing out their sound as a whole, especially with a small dose of catchy hand-claps.  And while they’re willing to push the envelope a bit with their music, Standard Fare can also kick out traditional ballads like on “Early That Night.” It’s the slowest track on the whole album, but one you all the hip kids should definitely play while their hosting the next hip dance party…you know, just so you can actually get to touch the opposite sex.

One of the best thing about writing record reviews is finding a record you can repeatedly go through from start to finish, wanting to write about every single song, and that’s precisely what Standard Fare have accomplished here. Out of Sight, Out of Town is an effort that’s sharp, clever and ultimately enjoyable for all fans of pop music.  It’s the best type of record there is, so have fun enjoying this wondrous gem for some time to come.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/03-Suitcase.mp3]

Download:Standard Fare – Suitcase [MP3]

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