Review: 3 New Discs from Dufflecoat Records

Dufflecoat Records, a label from Cambrige, England, unleashed a triumvirate of twee pop today: 3 brand-new CD-R's showcasing the talents of 4 bands, Slumbook, The Colleagues, Deam Carousel and Pagi Mentari. Instead of trying to cram each EP into one giant review, I broke this post into three small sections, one for each release. I'll start with my favorite, The Colleagues' The Sweet Simple Colours

The Colleagues - The Sweet Simple Colours
Where to begin describing the moments of beauty and subtle nuances that lurk inside this EP? How about the two tracks that open and close it? These songs, "Perfect Utopia" and "Rain" are some of the finest intro/outro songs I've heard, using short wafts of synth pads, regal piano and melancholy pluckings to create a cinematic atmosphere. Paired with spoken word vocals, it sounds like a clip from a particularly heart-wrenching indie film. The moods sandwiched between these two bookends are a lot more upbeat though, taking cues from (and improving on) the sound of The Sundays. The guitars have a metallic, resonant timbre, swooping and soaring at will. This is a refreshing EP that hearkens back to the age of Brit-Pop band Ride. I love it.

Dream Carousel // Pagi Mentari Split
This is a 4-song split EP by Dream Carousel (from the Phillipines) and Indonesia's Pagi Mentari. Dream Carousel's two tracks are shimmering with jazzy guitars, made even more exuberant sounding when paired with a Belle And Sebastian-esque horn section. The songs are a little too cheerful for my taste, as I like my twee-pop with some mopiness mixed in for good measure, but it's a pleasant listen. Pagi Mentari steal the show here, though. Although they have a jangly c86 aesthetic, the wall of sound their guitars form is vast enough to fill a crowded stadium. The grimy layer of chords is contrasted with bright, squeaky-clean riffs making for two songs that balance aggressiveness with undeniable charm.

Slumbook - Everything I Could Never Tell You
Slumbook is another pop band from the Phillipines, with a more lo-fi tone than the other three bands mentioned here. Their latest EP, Everything I Could Never Tell You is mixed quite well; the faraway yet powerful quality of the drums adding some gravitas to the songs, preventing the weightless, spiraling guitars from flying out into the stratosphere like wayward balloons. The title track is a lovely, crisp instrumental, but my favorite cut is Nostalgia, a vibrant, pastel-toned tune.