Neil Gardner is a bit of an audio guru, being the brains behind an award winning spoken word production company. But sometimes he likes to retreat from the digital studio to listen to some music analogue style, on vinyl. This time he goes long play with Little Cub...
Format: 12″ LP gold vinyl
Whilst visiting Domino Records to grab a copy of the amazing Middle Kids EP, my eye was caught by a beautiful gold LP. The band behind this glorious piece of spinning wax was Little Cub, and after some investigation I chose to take the risk and order the LP.
Boy oh boy, am I happy that I did. Not only is it one of the most gorgeous LPs I’ve ever seen, but what lies within its grooves is sheer synth heaven!
The best way to describe this South London trio is soft indie lo-fi synthwave pop…I know, it is a mouthful, but it sums them up perfectly. Every track on the LP is a masterpiece of modern synthwave composition, evoking actual and assumed 80s nostalgia. Then layered on top is a vocal style that is relaxed, pulled-back, lo-fi but engaging and oh-so-wonderful. There’s a bit of Morrissey, New Order, Talk Talk, Pet Shop Boys and Lightning Seeds in here…but it is much more than mere homage. This is a very modern indie take on what made those 80s synths and mournful lyrics so important. This is revelatory street-level storytelling with rhythm and swagger. This is synthwave poetry, making you think and boogie in equal measure. Each and every track takes you on a journey…albeit it in a Lamborghini Countach whilst wearing a big shouldered suit and Aviator shades!
Here’s a few thoughts on some of the majestic tracks (side/track):
- Too Much Love (1/1) – perfect soft indie pop merged with classic synthwave electronica and New Order-esque vocals
- My Nature (1/2) – slow driving rhythm with deep pulsing synth bass, a wide landscape explored by engaging vocals and lyrics
- Breathing Space (1/3) – dancy trippy upbeat synth contrast with lo-fi vocals and introspective lyrics, soothing storytelling at its best
- Hypnotise (1/6) – fully expansive synth vibes with beautiful evocative Joy Division-esque vocals. 80s noir builds to epic synthwave dance beat
- Closing Time (2/1) – low throbbing rhythm complemented with gloriously chorused vocals and a Neil Tennant style mixed with a Del Amitri story – fantastic sense of movement and speed against an ever-changing electronica noise backdrop
- Snow (2/4) – a real change of pace, ethereal and whispery, toned down and melancholic vocals. A mournful contemplative hymn to lyricism and simple yet accomplished composition
Finyl Thoughts: driving at speed down an 80s highway, shades on, padded shoulders bopping to the tunes, brain engaged by the lyrics – sheer synthwave bliss
First published on From the Listening Nook - Find Neil in his nook @listeningnook
Images - Neil Gardner