Friday, November 28, 2014

EP Corner: Latvia

It's time for another visit to EP Corner, and I'd like to kick off this latest edition with a tip for all up-and-coming musicians: if you name your album or EP after a particular place, you'll automatically be offered a gig in that place.

At least, that's what happened to Cardiff's own Local Sports Team. They decided, for whatever reason*, to dub their debut EP Latvia, and shortly after its release, they were contacted by an enthusiastic blogger from Riga, who sorted them out a headline slot in a local club. You can read the full story here if you'd like further proof that your own debut should be named Wembley.

But enough about the title. How are the tracks? Let's do this in an orderly fashion:

  1. Autobiography Steve - This loud yet light-hearted start to the record finds LST exhorting the presumably famous 'Steve' to give them a shout-out in his soon-to-be bestselling autobiography (they've been fans since the beginning, see). Soaring stuff, if a little baffling for those of us outside the joke. Perhaps Steve doesn't even exist, and it's just a meditation on what's it's like to have famous friends who forget about you.
  2. A Million Key Messages - The second track reminds me of Los Campesinos! a little bit, particularly the chirpy riff thing that underpins it all. I'm less clear on the meaning of this one, but even so, it's a corker, and if people released singles from their EPs then this would be the prime candidate.
  3. Facebook / Flytrap (Holly Valance) - The title is clunky, yes, but that mess of punctuation, alliteration, and celebrity namechecking belies the brilliance of the song itself. This is the EP's muscular centrepiece, with pounding drums and a sloping, very insistent riff. I love the fact that it's a song about wasting time on social media, and I especially love the shouty reprise of the first verse. "What d'you think we do all day?!"
  4. Light Pollution - Now, this track also appeared on Dinas Powys by Andrew Paul Regan (I guess Local Sports Team is kind of a side project for him...or maybe it's the other way 'round, I don't know). The tone is a lot more melancholy than anything else on Latvia, which I believe is why APR decided to relocate this song to his solo album a year later, but unlike him, I don't think it sounds out of place - indeed, this is the perfect spot for something a little more thoughtful, and its a nice contrast to the goofier likes of tracks 1 and 3.
  5. Lady Gojira - Another one with some very good shouty bits. Ending the record with a rollicking musical workout is always a good way to go, and this is a pretty great example, flitting as it does between intricate, mathy rock and Franzian indie disco fodder, with a climactic thumpy bit thrown in at the end for good measure.
So yes, this EP is a whole lot of fun, and those five tracks are sequenced pretty much perfectly - listening to Latvia is, in a way, akin to watching a support band as they outperform the headline act. I'm vaguely hoping they'll LST will release an album at some point, but even if they don't, this is still a fine document of the good work they're doing. Buy it here.

*At the gig where I bought this EP, I pointed out to a member of the band that 'Latvia EP' is an anagram of 'A Vital EP'. He didn't seem particularly impressed by this revelation, but I still like to think that this is the true reason for that esoteric title.

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