Fell City Girl – Split EP

Fell City Girl
Split EP

The British pop landscape is a tricky beast to judge on its own merits sometimes. The apocryphal British music press is not only a powerful machine; it often sets an agenda to aspire to, especially amongst many young, up-and-coming bands. Call it wilful naiveté or just playing to the law of averages, but the successes and influences of Radiohead, Muse, and Coldplay — as pertinent examples here — beget a form of flattery that just barely elude imitation.

Latitude Blue and Fell City Girl are two young British bands seeking salvation and a language to call their own within the inimitable confines of emotive and dynamic guitar-driven indie pop. Latitude Blue’s three tracks are propulsive, gloomy, anthemic bursts of layered guitar squall over semi-detached verses and swelling choruses. Echoes of Chameleons UK and Six by Seven haunt the melodic thrust and structure of these three songs, and Gareth Nutter’s vocals are a hybrid of Paul Weller and Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs) filtered through a disaffected Gen-X drawl. On “The Feeling You Get from a Blue Sky,” Latitude Blue delivers a fully realized and robust four-minute epic that starts with a circular guitar motif straddling a simple vocal ballad before careening headlong into a dense maelstrom of distorted guitar.

Fell City Girl delivers a collision of emo-atmospherics with sinuous guitar lines, loping rhythms, and histrionic vocals from the Smith/Yorke/Buckley school of delivery. Fell City Girl decisively wins the dynamic maturity sweepstakes on this EP just by sheer bravado and hubris. It’s a bittersweet victory, however, as Phil McMinn’s overwrought vocals and hackneyed lyrics mar any of the visceral pursuits on Fell City Girl’s four contributions to this EP.

While some of these songs do bear repeated listening, they often lumber under the weight of a decidedly mid-90s UK production sheen that never lets any of these songs breath long enough to come up for air. Additionally, it is difficult to gauge these songs without the self-conscious identikit adherence to their forbearers. After some interesting moments, there’s a conceit of style and lack of subtle dynamics, grace, and humility that could easily make these songs epic in nature rather than epic in tentative approximation.