After 30 odd years, Close Lobsters, the jangliest of the precocious C86 crowd of the 80’s, are back with another brilliant full length that proves their absence has only really affected their fans, rather than the tightness of their sound.
Thankfully, the core aesthetic is still infinitely ‘nearby crustacean’ (see what I have done there? Genius?) as tracks such as The Absent Guest (No Thin, No There), Bird Free, Godless (see below) and Let The Days Drift Away jangle with the rumbling intensity of the I Kiss The Flowers In Bloom tracks from the 1988, Foxheads Stalk The Land album. Essentially they still very much ‘have it’ in this respect.
Thirty years down the line and there are bound to be differences, but these are confined to the clarity of production, especially in the vocals, which are now also free of the previously compulsory C86 idiosyncracies. Andrew Burnett’ voice now feel warmer, more rounded and infinitely more accomplished, like Ian Broudie had been given permission to get his rock on.
The other main aesthetic in the album is the perfect reduction of vibrancy and dynamism. Such a sentence would ordinarily be associated with criticism, but tracks such as Now Time , Under London Skies (see below) and the epic Wander Pt, II, slow things down with the isolation of their jangled riffs and a sparser production, to imbue the Flying Nun style aesthetic of The Clean / The Bats. It’s a laconic ‘ying’ to their more rocked out ‘yang’ that was also present in their initial carnation, but it somehow just feels more pertinent now.
Of course we knew that the Close Lobsters still ‘had it’ after the brilliance of 2016’s Desire and Signs EP and that continues with even more aplomb in this their ‘2nd debut album’.