This fourth studio album from London trio Great Cynics does well in sounding like something you’ve definitely heard before, whilst also making an arresting reinterpretation on your ideas of what you’ve previously heard.
Let Me Go Home opens with a steady classic rock feel. It’s not until the major counterpoint of the second guitar’s chords that we realise we’re in that uplifting sort of pop-punk territory. The vocals begin with a unique sound that’s not entirely unfamiliar, a crooning sort of indie rock nasality that carries the melody well, clearer than more aggressive acts, so that you’ve got a happy but self-reflexive and lovelorn-focussed garage rock that wouldn’t be out of place coming from The Cribs, early Arctic Monkeys, or maybe even The Kooks. It’s a shame to have to drop so many names, but the music is fast, friendly and yet hard to grasp entirely.
There’s a lot of focus on, more than normally expected, their chord changes. On Only In Memories, they seem to drive the tune more than those cheeky super short melodies that arise from the peripheral guitars overdubbing. The way the chords at the end of phrases tend to swap out a note to a sadder chord before restarting the progression gives a clear and danceable restarting point for listeners.
Unexpectedly, Happiness London kicks in incredibly smoothly from the last track. It’s here you might notice that though in tone, the album is crisply produced and certainly a product of diligent studio studiousness, the way it presents the tracks within plays out more like a well-considered set list at a live show. The build-up and flow between tracks helps give some incrementing momentum to the album’s track list. Strangely the rawness is stripped out but the energy of a performance is retained.
The songs themselves aren’t too bad either, but won’t necessarily be topping everybody’s playlists; the drawn out vocal line of the sole syllabled I, dragging out and hopping round more notes than you could anticipate, is commendable and will be pretty catchy for some, annoying for others. Its key change is harder to swallow, is perhaps the nail in the coffin; but only for that track. The rest of the album is fairly faultless, with off-the-wall lyrical references to the everyday and mundane points of going shopping, the relatable feel of boredom mixed with yearning for human interaction. It’s carried off well enough to bring up a lot of things then swirl it all away with some rapid drums and concentrated strumming.
Don’t Buy The Sun gives us some of the more imaginative bass playing and gritty tonal prominence that we’ve arguably been lacking up until this point, aided by the track’s generally punky energy. It’s nice to hear the low end venturing away from its own (admittedly infectious) chord progressions a bit more confidently here and it certainly pays off.
Easily Done’s snappy pop-punk indie rock stylings that are likely to carry just enough charm to win you over, but it is beginning to burden itself with repetition. Too much is a bit more like it, nailing the sounds of an indie-rock anthem’s attractive but typically polished melancholy, offset with an upbeat strut and those pleasant vocal refrains that never quite leave your ears at rest. The band’s approach is one of nostalgic fun in Summer At Home, the pre-chorus’ vocals choose some lovely notes and it sounds like the band take joy in this one. They charmingly end with a cheeky callout, “thanks mum”, to punctuate the final crash of drum and rumbly bass descent.
Things We Don’t Talk About is an incredibly short album closer, somewhat unconventional, but well placed as it does make you want to listen to it once more. Where other bands might have dragged the tune out, or perhaps even played it twice and called it a second verse/chorus, these guys choose their moments well.
A solid album from Great Cynics, though not without its hints of repetition, it’s a steady foray that does well to make pop-punk and indie-rock sound revitalising, and the tunes aren’t overly intense or broodingly self-important, just melodic, energetic, and fairly speedy, making Posi a versatile listen that you could hear out in just about any context.