How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

 

For reviews of "The Kids At The Club" go here
For reviews of "Profit In Your Poetry" by Butcher Boy go here
For reviews of "Fill Up The Room" by Saturday Looks Good To Me go here
For reviews of "The Penguin League" by Antarctica Takes It! go here
For reviews of "React Or Die" by Butcher Boy go here

 

Reviews of "Flight Paths" by Pocketbooks



A Layer Of Chips


As I get older Mondays are becoming harder to bear. Weekends away with friends you see briefly and should see more and brought into sharp contrast with a Monday full of tetchy emails demanding things of you should've done on Friday afternoon, but were too excited. Because you were going away to see friends you see only briefly.

This Monday is no better than any others, but it's different because I've come home with a copy of Pocketbooks' superior debut album. Pocketbooks, as I'm sure you're aware, are probably the best live band in England right now. And if Flight Paths is anything to go by, they're probably the best band on record, too.

Half of these songs are familiar to me; they've been a staple of Pocketbooks' live set for a year or so now. And yet you can still get a thrill from the delicate pop rush of Cross the Line - a song so jubilant that all those nights watching this band come flooding back, and then... AND THEN!... there's that bit where Emma sings: "When you know the last word's mine", and you, well, you just nearly start crying and punching the air, so something equally as flamboyant.

But Pocketbooks have other brilliant songs, of course. Like Fleeting Moments, which fair scoots along, and sounds a little bit like something off The Housemartins' second, superior album. Or Sweetness and Light, which is the kind of whimsical melodrama that Pocketbooks do so much better than anyone else at the moment.
Maybe whimsy is too twee a word. 'Cos Flight Paths is packed with the sort of every day, kitchen sink detail about life, relationships, London life, holidays away and break ups. Heck, Every Good Time We Ever Had lists most of them explicitly.

Remember those albums you listen to when you're laid on the floor of your bedroom and you've just done something completely life-changing? Or you're just about to? Well, this is one of those. Listen to Flight Paths, and go out and find the one you love.


Skatterbrain

"I'm overwhelmed sometimes, by all the rational types who just dismiss coincidence and instinct and perception, as a trick of the mind" sings Emma Pocketbooks on "Fleeting Moments" – the second track on the London pop group's debut LP, Flight Paths. I just ordered my copy this past weekend, so I haven't gotten a chance to hear the whole thing yet, but I've heard wonderful things from all corners of the world and the one new song I have heard is a gem, so my expectations are pretty high right now! I have a good feeling that they'll be more than met though. Ian's fast-paced guitarwork is quite a lovely surprise on "Fleeting Moments" and my feeling is that had Stuart Murdoch been singing vocals for the track, it wouldn't feel a bit out of place on The Boy With The Arab Strap. Of course, Stuart isn't actually singing, but Andy and Emma are – and as usual, harmonizing beautifully. Pocketbooks' songwriting has always been above the top notch and Flight Paths is likely to only further their reputation as some of the finest songwriters in indiepop today.


Lostmusic

Pocketbooks have their début LP, ‘Flight Paths’ available for advance order at the moment from How Does It Feel To Be Loved? The official release date is set to be in June, but the label is posting out advance CD copies now. I will doing a full review of the LP in a few weeks - but after the first few listens - I am happy to report the band have delivered a wonderful pop record. It sparkles and shines and makes me want to dance.


Eardrums

London’s Pocketbooks gave me some brilliant news this morning, and I already feel that this will be a perfect day!
The band has given me so many fine pop-moments with their previous eps/singles “Waking Up” and “Cross the line”, and I’m so happy to hear that their debut album “Flight paths” is now finished and ready for the shop. The original release date will be in June, but you can already buy the album directly from their label How Does It Feel To Be Loved?’s webshop (- In a side-whisper I can also recommend you to buy Butcher Boy’s album and the new album from Cats on Fire from the shop). I just ordered it, and I can’t wait for it to arrive here!


Heaven Is Above Your Head

There are now at least two copies of Pocketbooks' Flight Paths in New Zealand, cause I just got my copy yesterday. I'm quite proud of the artwork and it's turned out really great. Listening to this after their first released song (on the HDIF compilation Kids At the Club) is a real epiphany. Recorded in a studio, professionally produced and mixed, it doesn't try to add on what Pocketbooks already are. But the tiny touches here and there really help to bring out the songs on what I have to say is the best album of the year so far. My new favourite song is "Camera Angles", mainly because of the lyrics and not the similarity to "Storytelling" (both in concept and sound). Old Black Tambourine ripoff "I'm Not Going Out" has never sounded better. "Fleeting Moments" is the chugging dance floor hit on here, but Andy also impress us with the blindingly beautiful "Sweetness and Light", "Paper Aeroplanes" and closing track "All We Do Is Rush Around" which is their most ambitious composition so far. It's a dense sound overall, with lots of miniature melodies jostling around. It's the sound of a tight, fresh and confident group - as anyone who's seen them in the past 10 months can testify. It's the sound of Pocketbooks.


Another Form Of Relief

It’s been several years in the making, but Pocketbooks finally have a proper full-length album! Or at least they will in June anyway. Pocketbooks are one of those bands that I’ve seemingly been tracking since the beginning of Another Form of Relief, so it’s nice to see them actually make it.

Actually, it’s nice in general to see the way indie pop has made such a comeback over the past few years, particularly in the UK. Pocketbooks are at the forefront of this, their C86-inspired melodies and sweet natured words bringing back an era that had previously been forgotten.

Fleeting Moments is taken from their debut album Flight Paths and is possibly their best work yet. Featuring both Emma and Andy on vocal duties, they play off each other perfectly as the romantic and the realist respectively. The wonder of Pocketbooks has always been in their imagery though, however simplistic it may be. There is just a pure joy in things as mundane as bus stop conversations in west country towns or staring out of how high-rise windows. Even to someone as cynical as myself.

In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times

And actually, the same thing goes for Pocketbooks. How many artists can claim to have released a record where the first three songs are really without blemish ? Right now, we can only think of "Straight Outta Compton" (obviously). But whereas from track four "Straight..." then takes a high-dive onto the steepest possible downhill incline to end in a series of musically unadventurous, un-incendiary and frankly egregiously reactionary whimpers, Pocketbooks' new record, "Flight Paths" (hot on the heels of "React Or Die", it's a similarly lusciously designed artefact from the How Does It Feel ? stable) follows the plumes of harmony that verily *rain* down over the perfect first three tracks - "Footsteps", "Fleeting Moments" and "Camera Angles" - with a proper LP-ful of vitamin goodness. Now God only knows what trouble we'd get into if we told you that this record was an even better debut than the Pains', so we'll keep that under our hats and instead record merely that "Flight Paths" is a stream of hummable, always likeable stories, bubbling with lyrical imagination, rippling with a determination to encompass all of London life into a series of vignettes, to treat us to a series of top-deck pop journeys around the city (at one point citing the number 23 bus, which we're sure is the one that I Ludicrous' mention in "Carter - They're Unstoppable", bus route reference fans). They've also largely left that slight church hall-feel long behind, with the songs boasting production that more snugly mimics the art of their arrangements, and we even get re-recordings of the two songs from that superb Atomic Beat 7" that manage not to emasculate the joie de vivre of the originals (y'know, we've been scribbling under the ilwttisott umbrella for a decade-plus now, but there are few more bubblingly, buzzingly sublime songs written in that time than "Cross The Line"). Yeah, this record is about the subtle tangle of connection between us all, our "flight paths to each other", presumably a Pastels nod. There's even a bit near the end of the final track, "All We Do Is Rush Around", where Andy SHOUTS and then they *ROCK OUT* for 20 seconds and the excitement of that is a breathless tribute to all that's gone before, a fall of ticker tape to top off the parade. So. Hold my hands, and tell me that Pocketbooks will never leave me.


Sounds XP

My word, how Pocketbooks have moved on from their somewhat insipid early days, now showboating, on this number at least, jaunty Northern Soul rhythms, brass and a tune good enough to shuffle along to. Of course it's not quite a Wigan Casino footstomper, so I don't suggest you talc down the kitchen lino just yet but it's a pleasant indiepop take and mighty enjoyable.



Russell's Reviews

So Pocketbooks debut album arrives, much anticipated by people in certain circles. On Footsteps Emma’s voice sounds rather like Amelia Fletcher, which is a wonderful thing. That the tune is a chirpy keyboard driven slice of classic indie pop is an added bonus. It’s up there with any of the indie classics. On Fleeting Moments she’s more shrill, but no less affecting. Piano crashes all over the shop in a tune that’s a pick up tonic. Andy’s voice pops up in the middle, none more fey, but rather delightful. His voice is better rounded on Camera Angles, a song that crams lots of words into a small space and is literate, scrambling pop. The Outskirts Of Town is a song that mainly just showcases Emma’s voice; it’s brittle and despairing like some Saint Etienne moment. Cross The Line is beautiful Belle and Sebastian conversational tune while Skating On Thin Ice is a jazzy little show number, set in a darkened club where the band have aspirations of stardom. Sweetness And Light and I’m Not Going Out keep up the high quality of straight forward trill indie pop that we’re getting used to. It seems that they can knock these aces out in their sleep. Every Good Time We Ever Had has an electronic, cyclical quality that reminds me of an upbeat Stereolab. Paper Aeroplanes is another cracking frenetic pop tune as is the closing track All We Do Is Rush Around. If you love melodies and infectiously catchy tunes then this is your album.


Coke Machine Glow


“Suspiciously quiet” whimpers Pocketbooks frontman Andy Hudson ten tracks into Flight Paths. He’s got a point—a hot new London indie band with almost a total anger lobotomy? Where are the swipes at the credit crunch; the puns skewering crooked MPs? It seems this fey quintet have a purer agenda, more concerned with boy/girl harmonies and finger-clicks than they are with bringing down Whitehall. But while the band may dress like volunteer biscuit-straighteners at a Christian bring-and-buy sale, they’re not quite that puny, holding court for forty minutes with their tales of polite city hi-jinx. If you don’t get the picture by now, go eleven seconds into first single “Footsteps” and see if you can stay still: spritely piano, spiraling guitar and semi-operatic diary entries; a twenty-four carat toe-tapper. I call it “tennis shoe rock”—simple, springy, white in sole, and suitable for all ages. No blisters.

The only problem is, of course, no street cred. In places, Flight Paths feels very strongly like reconditioned Belle & Sebastian, Isobel Campbell returned to vox and the lyrics lambasting effete hipsters instead of championing them. The moonlit twinkle of “The Outskirts of Town,” where Pocketbooks’ own Isobel Emma Hall documents her trip to the badlands (“Charity shops and blue flashing lights / I guess I’m naive if I think I’ll survive / On the outskirts of town”) paints the prelude to some bad vigilante film; a hopeful darling in potential hot water. A looped piano line keeps the mood light, though, and of course things end up sounding more Hans Christian Anderson than Ross Kemp on Gangs. Some parts of Planet Pocketbooks are even harder to visualize: the nifty Syd Barrett jazz of “Cross the Line,” for example, explores some hyper-real London, where you can be “asleep by the Zone 2 boundary / Awoken by the weary sigh of the ticket guy / Locating some young lady by his side…” Come off it—ticket guy? This isn’t 1969.

But then, just as you’re ready to place the ‘Books in the Tinker Bell box, it clicks: you haven’t bought tickets to some moody UK grooves here—this is funtime, not dubtime, so sit back and enjoy the gaiety. Once that thought takes off—took a day or two with me—Flight Paths can be a highly enjoyable record; Scott Joplin for salad bars. The celluloid stories and warm horns of “Camera Angles,” the rockafella twee of “Every Good Time We Ever Had”...it all begins to take hold, like being locked in a room with an irresistible puppy. Even “Sweetness and Light”‘s ode to student living doesn’t instantly make you want to set fire to things: the faint jazz organ and Cher stunts sweep you along like a yard broom (the kind not found in a real student house, by the way, where you can’t walk for tripping on Heat magazines). So you may have to suspend disbelief now and then, but imagination’s hardly a hanging offense, is it. When you read about the weekly teen stabbings or walk home every night to faint gunfire, you realize the Pocketbooks’ take on London isn’t uncomfortable at all—Flight Paths is a spritely little blighter, whose punchy snapshot of throwaway summers assures you won’t get killed by the runways. Just delayed, maybe.


Die Shellsuit Die

Pocketbooks are Indie in the purest sense of the term, managing to distil the essence of many jangly-guitar wielders into their sound. So, you’re either going to love their suburban tales of wist, wooing and wandering or want to introduce their faces to the nearest toilet bowl in a true Dennis the Menace / Walter the Softy stylee.

There’s Hefner (Footsteps, All We Do Is Rush Around), there’s the Cure (Cross the Line). There’s the Beautiful South without the chips (Skating on Thin Ice). There’s more than a smattering of the Wedding Present’s lighter moments. There are some fey moments putting the Squeeze onto Orange Juice. There’s an Estuary Ben Folds. You get the idea. They’re Indie. With a capital ‘aaah!’ This debut shows great things possible - if a slight breeze doesn’t blow them away.

Plan B

Harking back to Sarah Records' halcyon days, these 11 tracks aren't fey or twee, just sweet pop gems about "the platforms of the Central line to the beaches of a South coast town."


Another Form Of Relief

Pocketbooks have been one of my favourite bands to cover since I started this blog. Watching them rise from a few rough early songs to releasing their first proper album has been a joy to behold. As such, Another Form of Relief is delighted to present a free download of their next single, which also happens to be the opening track to the aforementioned album. It’ll be released on June 15, but you can download it here right now.

Footsteps follows in the, er, tread of those earlier songs, while also representing a natural progression from the band. Regular vocalist takes a step back on the song, allowing Emma a chance to shine, which she has no problems doing. Her calm, precise demeanour allows us to get to know her and take in her story. One of the most appealing parts of Pocketbooks has always been the imagery that they can evoke. Managing to walk a very fine line between the contemporary (”on the top deck of the 23?) through to throwbacks to gentler times and places (”the beaches of a south coast town”), they almost seem to exist in a world of their own. That world is centred around the mundane, the tiny nuances that dictate our lives. Yet somehow Pocketbooks manage to turn that into a magical place that we can only dream of.


Fire Escape Talking

Pocketbooks put the dip in their hip and the glide in their stride for Footsteps, their first single and finest moment to date. Capturing the strut and sass of 60s girl group sounds with a melodica solo for that authentic Amelia Fletcher experience, Footsteps is released through itunes on 15 June, but you can download it here first. Or buy Pocketbooks’ debut album, Flight Paths, which includes Footsteps, here.



Sweeping The Nation


Pocketbooks do that whole jangle pop thing, and they do it a whole lot better than the vast majority too. Straight out of the Go-Betweens/Postcard Records school of dragging the sweet/sour 60s into the modern recording studio, glorious melodies and boy/girl harmonies replete. How Does It Feel To Be Loved? are putting out debut album Flight Paths on 13th July, and we've been given the go-ahead to post the sparky, Housemartins-ish forthcoming single for a bit.




Eardrums

It’s no secret that I have a special place in my heart for the music of Pocketbooks, and I am very happy to see that their upcoming single is one of my favourites from their debut album “Flight Paths”. The single is called “footsteps” and will have it’s official release on 15 June on iTunes and on their own website. It’s a super-catchy pop song with some wonderful piano and trumpet elements accompanying Emma’s vocals. The album “Flight Paths”, which I can highly recommend, will be released on 13 July on How Does It Feel To Be Loved?.



Skatterbrain


"Footsteps" is the new single from Pocketbooks' smashing debut LP Flight Paths! It will be available officially on June 15 on iTunes, as well as Pocketbooks' website, but we're doing an early giveaway of the MP3 right here on Skatterbrain! "Footsteps" is an obvious highlight of the album – a perfect album opener, and a perfect single.

As the single's artwork hints, "Footsteps" is indiepop written for the dancefloor. The song's innocent storyline follows a couple through the streets and into the clubs and onto the dancefloor over again and again as Emma Pocketbooks sings "I just hope I always hear your footsteps with me" during each chorus, before culminating in a fantastic overlapping boy/girl harmony right at the end! A simple enough sentiment, but implemented beautifully by indiepop's most sparkling of contemporaries.

The Devil Has The Best Tuna

This weeks NME has 49 things to make us happy which has had the opposite effect on the Devil seeing as most of them are quite depressing. In which world does Lily Allen doing a treasure hunt constitute something to make me happy. Lily Allen disappearing up her own backside would be worth a smile but a Lily Allen treasure hunt God give me strength.

Number 45 on the NME's list however does tickle the Devil's smile muscles. C86 will be reborn as C09. Yes it's time to break out the cardigan (wearing mine while I type this missive!), rediscover your virginity, dig out those old NHS specs and get in touch with your inner geek. Which makes today's band Pocketbooks perfectly placed to ride the zeitgeist.
As attractive as a day off school in the summer when you were twelve and as sweet as a Mr Whippy, Pocketbooks songs shimmer like a heat haze and sparkle like stars on a hot summer night. With their melodic boy/girl harmonies and guitars set to jangle it's like they've been specially created in an indie pop laboratory by merging the DNA of Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels, The Housemartins and Camera Obscura.

The band, three northerners and two southerners based in London, have a new single 'Footsteps' released via How Does It Feel To Be Loved on June 15th closely followed by the album, 'Flight Paths', to be released in July.

It's happy hour again!


Losing Today

Faultless.

We were tempted to leave the review just so, but then we felt some of you record buying wallflowers might just need a further nudge and a tad bit of coaxing to get you wandering in the general direction of this cutely tweaked bundle of shy eyed effervescence. Mentioned with much affectionate fondness in these pages when their ‘waking up’ EP had us all a swooning in the aisles. We’ve a slight suspicion we may have already mentioned this cut (and well if we have and you didn’t take note the first time of asking then shame on you) which should be adorning the finest record emporiums very shortly just ahead of their debut ‘flight path’ full length which dearest hearts has been charming the birds out of trees around our gaff of late much to the amusement of the house cat. Anyway enough of that, this babe tingles and purrs with such beaming sunburnt radiance that we here swear we’ve gotten a tasty little tan just for being near it, adorably cute some twee tweaked candy pop, all at once demurring, flighty and flirty, bright eyed and bushy tailed, still calls to our minds the chirpy cosiness of Heavenly and the willowy hushed innocence and romance of Belle and Sebastian’s ‘tiger milk’ whilst simultaneously found on this occasion nodding ever so slightly to Martha and the Vandellas and the Supremes ‘you can’t hurry love’ albeit relocated to a quaintly English afternoon dimpled with summer showers. Be warned though may cause light headedness and impromptu out breaks of hip jiggling and foot tapping.


Telextext

Former PS demo faves, the Londoners' debut is streets ahead of most of the current C86 revival of twee pop.

With better tunes than the over-hyped Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, they know whether it's little boy lost Andy Hudson or Emma Hall's summery delights that are required to sing each line.

Sounding like a lost Sarah Records gem, it's endlessly cute and beguiling, not sickly like their peers.



Bournemouth Echo


Perfectly sweet indie pop that makes young boys and girls in hooded windcheaters skip along merrily in time to their own racing jingle jangle heartbeats. It's Belle & Sebastian without the undertone.


Alex Loves You And Your Silly Pop Songs

Some of my favourite blogs have already written about this, and I'm going to do the same - London's Pocketbooks will be releasing their new single, "Footsteps", via iTunes on June 15. It's a super little love song that will get your shoes shuffling straight away. Then, in July, the brilliant How Does It Feel To Be Loved? label will be releasing their debut record, Flight Paths, which I highly recommend for you to purchase, because it will add some extra sunshine to your summer or brighten those misty winter mornings, if you'll be spending your July hibernating indoors from the cold like me.



Sugar Sours


"Footsteps" is the new single off from Pocketbooks' upcoming (and debut) album Flight Paths, and sounds something like a jolly romp from the town to the dicotheque compressed into three minutes with you dancing the whole time. And while shopping for some vintage clothes before hitting the dancefloor sounds like a good time on its own, it gets even better, because your special lady (or laddy) is there with you the whole time! While the sentiment is nice enough, it's those boy/girl harmonies at the end that really bring it home. The "Footsteps" single comes out June 15th and Flight Paths releases on July 13th. Both will be available on How Does It Feel To Be Loved (and I'd highly reccommend picking up anything they have that you don't already own on account of how extremely ace every single one of those releases are). In the meantime, visit the Pocketbooks' Myspace to hear some of their other tracks.


The Yellow Stereo


Completely missed out on the opportunity to be on the early giveaway of “Footsteps” the new single from London’s Pocketbooks earlier in the month. The single has now been released as of yesterday via iTunes, but I can still give it a mention here at least. It’s a lovely toe-tapping indiepop song from the band’s debut Flight Paths which will be released on the London label How Does It Feel To Be Loved? which, by the way, is the best label name I’ve ever heard. Exaggerating of course, but it’s still wonderful!




Everett True


This feels cleansing.

Earlier this evening, I was floundering: unable to decide what to do with the remains of a slow-cooked pork roast. Looked at, and discarded, many recipes without even testing them. Finally, I decided to throw in a few slices of apple, a scattering of brown sugar, some vintage cheddar – of course – and toast the whole caboodle up in Daisy, our migrated sandwich toaster. The apple offset the vaguely ’school dinner’ taste of the roast, most excellently. All of this is by way of saying, I still don’t appreciate bands who slavishly copy the past – yes, I’m still looking your way, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – even while I can’t help but relish points of common interest.

Pocketbooks sound like the sort of group The Famous Five would’ve formed, post-university and still not jaded, Georgie having given up all pretension to be a lesbian: butter wouldn’t melt, burnished bright and crystal-clear – confident, ah yes, confident. You must be confident to create such sweet April March pop music as this. Everything is florid. Everything is tempered. Everything is left to linger for a few more special moments in the warm summer air, before another flourish of brass, another timpani of piano comes breezing in. Someone whispered “The Siddeleys” to me, but that merely put me off. I don’t do obscure unless there’s a good reason for it.

This is Bacharach, and this is Bob Stanley. This is all those 60s pop groups who never aspired to be as cocky or salacious as The Shangri-La’s. This is 6pm practice for choral song after school. This is The Pale Fountains. This is Dickon Edwards. This is Sarah Records without any delusions of inadequacy. None of these might seem to be recommendations to you – same as my hastily-discovered solution to meat leftovers might seem even vaguely palatable – but shit. I know what I like, and I like this.

The female singer’s voice reminds me of Wendy from The Popguns. How can I not like this? We all need our secret local crushes.


Bearded


Based in London and including members from both ends of England, five-piece indie-pop outfit Pocketbooks deal in a sound which often sits north of the border. On their debut album, Flight Paths, they manage to give erstwhile guitar-pop a considerable shot in the arm.

Mining the seam of a rich tradition of British pop, being both twee yet effortlessly joyous and energised, Pocketbooks recall the type of output which was once synonymous with the much-loved Postcard Records, home to the likes of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the quintet’s sweetly melodic vignettes evoke the sprightly, perfect pop feel of Camera Obscura and other Scot-pop acts, though on ‘Every Good Time We Ever Had’ - with its gently chugging guitars and duelling harmonies – there are hints of Motown sounds, and even Stereolab, audible in a vacuum-packed three-minute pop song.

The twinkling piano of opening track and lead single ‘Footsteps’ offers a sign of things to come, conjuring thoughts of warm summers and hazy days in the park, and their girl group-inspired pop nuggets glisten at every turn, laden with harmonies and a keen melodic nous which hints at a fast-approaching songwriting maturity.

There’s a macabre edge to tracks such as ‘The Outskirts of Town’, which is cloaked in melancholy as it charts the minutiae of suburban life. When the pace slows the results are less successful, though the slinky ‘Skating on Thin Ice’ shows a different side to Pocketbooks, with its sparse guitar and whistles being unlike anything else on this first full-length outing.

Not every song hits the mark, but in less than forty minutes there is plenty here to thrill and invigorate fans of earnest indie-pop. At times Flight Paths is wonderfully enchanting, and with songs like this it’s hard to resist Pocketbooks’ charms.

Paint The Words In Pastel Blue

How is it that certain songs can be so sincere, and so convincing that they not only change your general mood, but almost make you believe that whatever is detailed within the song is absolutely possible no matter how implausible the concept? I've had to stop myself several times to give this some serious thought. Do I believe that there is anyone out there whose footsteps I could imagine in perfect sync with mine, forever? Absolutely not. Do I believe that it's possible when the Pocketbooks sing about it? Absolutely.

The song is like a perfectly crafted miniature film in that regard. The type whereupon going in you know that suspension of disbelief will be inevitable, but you just don't care because the story unfolds in such a way that you're simply thrilled to escape into it for it's entire duration. Surely you can imagine how that precise concept just gets better when compressed into a perfect, three and a half minute, "feel good hit of the summer" ready pop song. The cheery keyboard line, and tambourine punctuate this sweet love story flawlessly. The melodica solo that emerges halfway through to play over the aforementioned through line is a pleasant surprise until you realize that of course this song would be somewhat incomplete without such a thing. It would be no less good without it, but it's the little details like that one that elevate this single from great song, to amazing song.

The single is available as a free download from the band's Myspace page, but I would also strongly urge you to pick up a copy of the full length, Flight Paths, to which it belongs. The CD will not be officially released until July 13, but the How Does it Feel to be Loved Record Label is selling advance copies here. I've had mine for about a week now, and it's already shaping up to be the official soundtrack to a good portion of my summer.

Pennyblack Music

Pocketbooks are a 5-piece pop group, based in London and formed sometime in 2006, when singer Emma Hall finally managed to assemble all the future members of the band, including the other singer, Andy Hudson, who also plays the keyboards.

The first time you could hear them on a piece of plastic, was on the London club/record label, How Does It Feel To Be Loved? compilation CD, 'Kids at the Club', which was released the same year the band formed. Since then, there have been some more compilation appearances, a 7” single and an EP, and now the time has come for their debut album, 'Flight Paths'.

The label, the aforementioned How Does It Feel To Be Loved? talks about them as a good old, classic indiepop band, in the same vein as the Housemartins, the Sundays and Everything But The Girl, and I can see what they are talking about.

This is… well, classic indiepop, which is both good and bad. The good part is that the tunes are very good, and so are the lyrics, but the bad thing about it is that it sounds exactly like thousands of other bands through the years, and I don’t think I will remember this album when the calendar tells me that it’s the year 2010. Which is sad, really, as it’s a pretty good album.

For Folk's Sake

On first listen to Pocketbooks debut album there is one band name that pops into your head that you fear will be haunting this young group for their whole artistic career. This album sounds so much like Belle & Sebastian you wonder if they would have a leg to stand on if taken to court for plagiarizing by a furious Stuart Murdoch. The vocal tune structure is the biggest give away, rising and falling melodies that continue for longer than groups think to try (maybe this is because B&S made it their own), and that steamroll through each song almost pulling the rest of the instruments with it.
The instrumentation is typically twee, and bouncy, with elements of The Smiths in its subtle phrasing.

This is all a bit of a shame because the music is, on occasion, downright beautiful. Opening track ‘Footsteps’ instantly lifts your soul and sends you dancing around the room, while ‘Cross the Line’ has a sincerity that is refreshing and delightful, singing about missing Oyster cards and concerns about a friends hay-fever.

‘Skating on Thin Ice’ has the jaunt of a Randy Newman track and has a bounce that could melt even the coldest hearts.

It could be argued that Pocketbooks couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With Belle & Sebastian on a lengthy sabbatical maybe this is the band that can fill the void. Their strength of songwriting would certainly indicate so and there really is nothing to dislike about any of the tracks on this album. Only time will tell if other bands former glories are enough to do Pocketbooks any damage, or whether they have paved the way for an even brighter star.

 

 

To buy "Flight Paths" go here

 

 
HDIF site        

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

how does it feel to be loved? record label - home of butcher boy, the uk label for "fill up the room" by saturday looks good to me

 

 

 

 

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