Not Squares

 

CD OF THE WEEK: Yeah OK,Richter Collective ****

It seems these days you can’t step outside your front door for fear of bumping into the Next Hot Irish Band That Specialises in Glitchy Instrumental Passages. The rise of bands who forego lyrics will be a chapter of some music boffin’s thesis.

But don’t be fooled by the offhand title of this Belfast trio’s debut album: Yeah OKis as tight and concentrated as anything you’ll hear all year. Not Squares are the real deal, although their remit does, in fact, allow words to be allied to their innovative melodies.

The band is made up of musicians who have played in some of Northern Ireland’s most respected underground bands, including Tracer AMC, Heliopause and Gaju. They’ve been around since 2008, when they joined forces to fulfil the need for a Belfast “party band”.

Their collective experience is evident in the accomplished Yeah OK. Electronica clashes with post-punk in the most dazzling way imaginable on tracks such as the superbly catchy Asylum, while insolent streaks of synth collide with echoed, punky vocals in De Na Na– the sort of thing James Murphy would swap his retro microphone for.

There are plenty of frantic moments here, certainly, as well as several serene, melodic passages that allow much- needed breathing space. The strummed groove of Smith & Carloscould double as a cut from a Wild Beasts song, Yeah!uses a drawn-out vocal harmony in its chorus, giving the song a warm heart, while even the spacey build of the cowbell-enhanced Don’t Do Nothingrelieves the tension created by the holy trinity of sequencer/synth/sampler.

Like a cross between Crystal Castles (without the posturing) and early LCD Soundsystem (though with way more computer-generated glitches), Yeah OKis an intelligent, offbeat and occasionally surprising record that’s varied enough to outlive the hysterical hipster propaganda.

See myspace.com/notsquares

Download tracks: Asylum, Yeah!