Glasgow’s The Hermit Crabs perfectly exhibit everything that makes the indie-pop genre wonderful on their debut album. The female vocals from Melanie Whittle are beautiful and rich with emotion. The rhythms are catchy, at times melancholy and at times playful. The production adds a lush sheen to the album, bringing out every chiming guitar note. And the use of violin and extra percussion gives the band it’s most unique quality.
While not straying too far from indie-pop bands like The Lucksmiths and Belle & Sebastian, this young band spans a number of genre influences on their debut, from the purely precise pop to bits of folk, country, and rock. Assisted at times by members of Teenage Fanclub and Camera Obscure, the Crabs illustrate how approachable their music can be to fans of a variety of styles of pop.
The album opens with the folk-tinged “Tonight,” a subtle opener that exhibits the wonderful addition violin can add to the genre. It’s followed by the up-tempo “Goodbye My Friend,” which has a nice, bouncy rhythm a la Dressy Bessy. “Closet Fan” is softer, more melancholy and introspective, while “Lean, Free Summer” is so playfully poppy, the hand-claps at the beginning sound completely at home.
My favorite song on the album is definitely “Bad Timing,” with a bit of a soulful sway and some added percussion to lend it depth. “Friend’s Folk Festival” is another highlight, with a sprightly pace and the catchiest lyrics on the album. I can’t help bobbing and singing along to “Feel Good Factor,” which perfectly suits its feel-good title. Even the more heartfelt tracks, like the folksy/country-tinged “Third Time Lucky” has a wonderful sway to it. The more mellow and somber “Soul Mate” closes the album with a gorgeous, echoed feel and light guitars.
The musicians here are clearly not newcomers. There’s a lot of talent in The Hermit Crabs, as evident on this debut full-length. These songs are well-written and perfectly produced, with a nice range of indie-pop influences. And there’s potential to stray even further from the set boundaries of the genre, making me eagerly anticipate a follow-up.