Would-Be-Goods - The Morning After

By liz

Would-Be-Goods - The Morning After
Matinee Recordings

Describe a band or record as twee and suddenly it's gotten the short end of every stick around. The stigma of creating precious or quiet pop is unfounded in the indie rock world. I will never understand why every reviewer feels free to love Belle and Sebastian but anyone compared to the Scottish supergroup is automatically boring and crap.

The Morning After is a record that can hopefully break a few of those indier-than-thou mindsets away from the twee=bland equation. England's Would-Be-Goods, led by famed-in-certain-circles el recording artist Jessica Griffin, have created a new album of elegant and timeless guitar pop. At no point in time does guitarist Peter Momtichiloff (Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Razorcuts and Scarlet's Well) break into major rock chords and strum as if his hands are afire... but nor is his guitar polite or apologetic. There should be nothing conciliatory about creating a sound this beautiful and soulful, even if it's not going to shift enough units to hit the charts. This playful record bounds between charming songs of identifying with a caged lion ('Big Cat Act') to French ballads alternating between patient chords and a surf rock anthem ('Le Crocodile').

On the album's title track, Jessica proudly puts her regret to the forefront on singing of a one-night stand that woefully didn't lead to more, "I should have known love would go to my head, all of those things I should never have said. Why did I get so carried away? it looks so different by the cruel light of day." The delicacy and remorse of Jessica's vocals are starkly contrasted by the positiveness of the pop ballad that got me dancing around my living room. That divergence doesn't really sees itself play out throughout most of the record. For instance on 'Too Old' the downtrodden nature of the lyrics, "Your hair is getting thin, and mine is going gray. You've known me for so long, you've nothing left to say." the backing harmonies and reflective guitar play up the melancholy wistfulness of an ill relationship. On 'The King of Lace', a crooning Jessica reminisces in the style of many Ye-Ye artists before her (read Francoise Hardy) to a quiet guitar comfortable in my idicilic visions of Paris side streets straight out of April March drawn dream world.

Jessica was once quoted as saying she had a "lack of confidence in my confidence", but that certainly doesn't come forward in any of the material on this new record. Smart, sexy and classic The Morning After is a record to revel in your own sugar high.