Sunday, 31 January 2010

Various - The Matinee Grand Prix (Matinee)

I love that Matinee continue to put these albums out, as a sort of taster of what pop nuggets the casual observer can find on the label. It's how I first became aware of Matinee, and for that I'll always be grateful to Jimmy for having the time and love to bother.

Of all the Matinee compilations over the years, this is perhaps the most diverse. Yes, you know what you're going to get from the likes of Northern Portrait, The Lucksmiths (whose posthumous presence here reminds that a supreme band has fallen), and Tender Trap - and that's ace pop sketches.

But there's also the mysterious Clay Hips' marvellous, understated electropop masterpiece in 'Disappointed', which brings back the best moments of Baxendale or Fosca. And that's backed up by Simpatico's fragile 'Australian Idle', and most excitingly, Maths and Physics Club's 'I Keep to Myself', which builds on the soft synths on their last ep to exciting effect.

Three tracks out of eleven doesn't mean that Matinee is about to turn away from the meat and potatoes indiepop, of course, but it's a pleasant surprise to find an indiepop label that's not afraid to step off the beaten track now and again. A smashing little snapshot of an always loveable label.

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