June '14

Andrew Lemon reviews the latest releases from Michael Mormecha, Go Swim and Freak's

Michael Mormecha – 'Mixtapes'

Mojo Fury frontman Michael Mormeca may normally ply his trade singing taut, dynamic alt-rock songs, but the first track from his upcoming solo album belies an altogether different type of songwriting nous. A deceptively straightforward track, 'Mixtapes' never really reaches a climax, and in many ways plays out as more of an extended love letter than a conventional pop song.

That said, there are still enough flourishes and hidden details to keep things interesting; the chopped up instrumental lines (and, let's face it, the whole song's loved-up feel) reminiscent of Postal Service.

Detailing the various idiosyncrasies of a boy/girl relationship, Mormecha's curious lyrics are refreshing – 'She's a guitar, I am a snare drum / She's an alarm clock, I don't even have one'. This is a track which isn't fixated by the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge songwriting structure. 'Mixtapes' tumbles along at the same laidback speed as its two lovelorn protagonists, and that's absolutely fine.

Go Swim – 'Animal'

Belfast quintet Go Swim are a band that seem to have found their feet recently. Having been on the live scene since mid-2013, the math-pop group have been gaining favourable reviews for recent singles ('Call Sign' received airplay on Radio 1) and have also secured a support slot for Kaiser Chiefs' Belfast gig in August.

The hi-hat-heavy 'Animal' builds on the pop sound that we've heard up to this point, and the influences are there for all to hear – comparisons to early Foals material might start to become cliché were they not so unavoidably apt, whilst there has certainly been a leaf taken out of fellow indie-poppers Ed Zealous' book on the synth lines scattered throughout the track.

It's easy to be snobbish about a track like 'Animal'. It is, on first listen at least, a track which has familiar tricks up its sleeves – any regulars of the deceased Belfast club night Skibunny will be well versed in its math-rock hooks. That said, when its brief two and a half minutes are up, it's almost impossible not to dive in for another listen – and there's no room for snobbery there.

Freak's – 'A Minute More'

The success of bands in a certain genre can sometimes lead to some less-than-stellar copycats, but if the emergence of Two Door Cinema Club and The Wonder Villains leads to offshoots such as Freak's, then we're not complaining. 'A Minute More' is the latest in a string of singles from the Strabane band, who have recently supported The Wonder Villains on the live circuit.

The track's pop hooks will appeal to fans of the aforementioned bands, but the nostalgic indie-rock riffs are reminiscent of bands from further afield – Bombay Bicycle Club and Tokyo Police Club spring to mind, both of whom began playing to modest crowds and have quickly moved up festival line-ups.

But the most impressive thing about 'A Minute More' is that it sounds so effortless from a relatively new band. It's easy to imagine these radio-friendly hooks adorning a Match of the Day montage, or being used to sell something on a television advert. That's doing 'A Minute More' a disservice, though – it's a solid and impressive pop song.