Highlights: Willow Café, New Year, Luckless Days
First, we have to bring up the question of The Plimptons, a brilliant and overlooked Glaswegian band that called it quits earlier this year. The Plimptons may have lacked identity, but it’s not like it mattered when their albums had so much melodic bliss going for them; their genre-hopping was hilarious and exciting (imagine early Dickies that were open to anything), but might have also been symbolic of the fact that they never really managed to settle down and take it all seriously. The Plimptons’ farewell EP (also independently released this year) is well worth hearing. Here’s the review, and here’s the actual thing.
Well, anyway. GUMS! are an offshoot of the now deceased Plimptons, and Antipathy is their second EP. Thankfully, whereas the first one (A Glaswegian Summer, 2012) sounded bleak and, in all honestly, not particularly inspired, Antipathy is the sort of ecstatic but obscure pop record you want to tell your friends about.
While basically preserving the diversity of the original band, GUMS! are doing it in a less erratic manner. The insane catchiness is there, of course, and the pop punk of “Dancing In Your Room” is The Plimptons all over (however, with an ounce of female vocals), but overall this is a somewhat sweeter (I swear there are hints of twee pop in a couple of songs), more charming and less fucked-up (I’m using the word affectionately) affair. Particularly good are the first three tracks, instantly memorable pop confections which offer that lush tunefulness Scottish bands can do so well. “New Year” is an instant hit in the pop charts of my world.
I would urge any music fan to get Antipathy (can be done here, and for free, too), I swear that sonically it makes more sense than most of what is released these days. As long as it’s a strong, articulate melody you care for and not some masturbatory ambience that goes on for 20 minutes.