Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Poster Paints bittersweet debut reminds us of the unique beauty of Scottish pop

"Poster Paints"

Release date: 14 October 2022
Poster Paints - Poster Paints cover
11 October 2022, 00:00 Written by Simon Heavisides

Chemistry between human beings in whatever situation is a strange and mysterious thing.

Impossible to manufacture, when it remains stubbornly elusive the results can be painfully awkward, but if the stars align and everything clicks into place then things get really interesting.

Poster Paints thankfully fall into the latter category. Coalescing during lockdown, Carla J Easton and Simon Liddell have their own illustrious Scottish indie backgrounds stretching from solo work to TeenCanteen, Frightened Rabbit and beyond, but that’s another story.

For some the mere words, ‘poster paints’ will automatically be evocative of childhood days spent in sun-dappled primary school classrooms, just feel that Proustian rush.

Which is kind of fitting because Poster Paints have created a collection of songs with the power to transport the listener in and out of time and place, accompanying you through the emotional drama of those inevitable sticky situations and the unavoidable ruminations, on choices made and opportunities missed, that follow.

Dealing in a type of Scottish indie-pop classicism that reaches back to take a sliver of Phil Spector ‘wall of sound’ dramatics, mixes in a folk derived simplicity and naturally acknowledges its illustrious predecessors, (check the Gillespie era Jesus and Mary Chain beats that herald the celestial “Not Sorry”) but still winds up carving out a space of its own based on the clear sympatico between the main protagonists.

Spectral opener “Still Got You” illustrates this perfectly: over the measured tread of a gentle rhythm box shuffle and amidst echoing phased guitar, Carla’s voice is up close and intimate until being cut off suddenly by what sounds like a train passing. Elsewhere more conventional moments such as “Number One” or “Falling Hard” still hit home thanks to an abundance of joyous hooks.

Certainly there are some stunning songs here: “Circus Moving On,” with its pin drop delicacy unfurling against a stately drum beat and quivering strings, is a sweeping paean to battered defiance and rueful reflection and just the kind of song that elevates an album from the pleasant to something deeper and more lasting. Perhaps the difference between a seven and an eight in the arcane, unscientific world of critical calibration.

As summer becomes a distant memory and autumn unfurls in its uncertain, bittersweet glory Poster Paints are here to provide the perfect soundtrack – all hail the unique undimmed beauty of Scottish pop.

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