Squarehead: High Time review – wistful nostalgia mixed with unease

Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
High Time

Artist:
Squarehead

Label:
Strange Brew Records

Genre:
Alternative

You may well have thought that you’d heard the last of Squarehead. The Dublin trio released three albums in three years, including a super debut. 2011’s Yeah Nothing really ought to have made them stars; a buzzy indie-rock album that lassoed grunge and slacker-rock with no little aplomb.

After a six-year gap that entailed a much-needed “mental health break”, they’ve returned with an audible newfound sense of wisdom and experience. Their rough edges have been gilded but not smoothed, making for an altogether more polished-sounding record.

There’s a bounce in the step of the delightful Los Paradiso, which sounds like Belle & Sebastian minus the tweeness. CDHR and Morning pitch a laidback, dreamy psychedelia akin to Tame Impala’s mellower moments, while After the Sun is one of several songs showcasing frontman Roy Duffy’s innate knack for catchy riffs that don’t overpower his fellow players.

The dominant vibes of wistful nostalgia are tempered by a bubbling undercurrent of unease, as heard on the heavy Ignorance and the grimy skitter of Crossover.

A fine return from a band evidently with a lot still to offer.