It's so easy to misjudge Mascot Fight if you've only seen them live. I'm no musician, but their songs can often be quite complex, and they have to have perfect sound at their gigs to make them sound right.
Take the simply gorgeous opener here, Terry is the Chicago Sun. Live it's often completely hamstrung by the bass being too high in the mix - here, it's heartbreaking.
Pantomime Hearse starts at a canter. Danger Man buzzes around like a sort of flowery Buzzcocks pop shock, and ends with a wonderful Pavement-esque guitar solo, before falling apart completely.
I've mentioned That's a Photocopier... here before, and I still love it's tale of 9-5 woe. But it's City Bones that's the real treasure of this album. It starts quietly before Sean Dodds' plaintive, fragile vocal comes in. Then prepare to weep buckets as the most melancholy chorus in pop hits you straight in the goolies. Tragedy has rarely sounded so good.
That they follow it up with the jazzy throwaway pop Thinking in French makes me smile. Also, it's a bit sexy. Blush.
They're showing off now, and even manage to get a sea shanty during an 'interval' two thirds of the way through the album. Which leads nicely in the darkness of Diego Barnes, with its tense verses and underlying atmosphere of violence. It's like the soundtrack to a night in a Wetherspoons in Doncaster town centre. That's right.
I moaned in an earlier post about the demise or disappearance of three great Derby bands as we entered the new year. The one that makes up such a fine quartet has written an album that fills me full of joy and makes the loss just that little bit easier.
If I were you, I'd download the whole of Pantomime Hearse here.