Local music reviews from Tom Davenport!
Vienna Ditto - 'Bells/Snowbound'
This band are firmly back on the Ocelot 'to watch' list. Picture the lovely tender vibes of Old Colours (formerly Anchor and the Wolf), give it an electronic polish and front it with Hatty Taylor who sings with a perfect balance of naivety and angst. That's 90:10, songwriting fans. 'Snowbound' is the real highlight; a refreshing example of retro dub reggae, with scorching hot tape-delays to match. The best part is the slow guitar strums which hang in the air and drift into the distance like daffodil seeds. It's a huge improvement on their previous EP, and among the best we've heard all year.
Spring Offensive - 'Worry Fill My Heart'
My stomach usually sinks when we're sent this kind of bouncy guitar-jabbing pop. It's not a bad genre, but a terrifying number of bands have a literal stab at it and few acts shine through the rough. Thankfully, Oxford's Spring Offensive have nothing to worry about. They're up there with Ocelot favourites Sailors for beaming pure indie joy through our speakers, and that's really saying something. The first song on this two-track EP is soaring with harmonies, similar to Sufjan Stephens, and track two has a hint of 'good' Radiohead that I can always get into. Top marks.
The Cellar Family - 'Jumbo' PICK OF THE MONTH
How did The Cellar Family know I would love this? I'm nuts for this. I've gone Jumbo nuts. Want some? It seemed like Vienna Ditto had 'Pick of the Month' all wrapped up, but in typical punk fashion, this band have thrown a spanner in the works. While there are plenty of nods to punk staples like Q and not U, Pixies and particularly Mclusky, 'Jumbo' is stamped with freaky originality. I shudder to think how fun it would be on tour. This isn't to everyone's taste, but if aggressive punk is your sort of thing then get on it before the rest of the country notices.