Close Lobsters

  • Close Lobsters
  • Foxheads Stalk This Land (Fire/Enigma) 1987 
  • What Is There to Smile About EP (Fire/Enigma) 1988 
  • Headache Rhetoric (Fire/Enigma) 1989 

In a world overrun by samey janglepop, this Scottish quintet has managed to establish a distinctive sound by melding the aggro bounce of Britpunk’s first wave with the mellower melodic strains of such groups as the Church. The band’s four instrumentalists construct a dense wall of guitars and drums on which Andrew Burnett hangs his plaintive, dreamy crooning.

Foxheads is a fine introduction, an album full of sunny pogoable songs (“Sewer Pipe Dream” and the title track) and epic axe assaults (the eight-minute “Mother of God”). The succeeding EP offers a half-dozen additional tracks, showcasing an even more mature sense of melody (especially on the haunting “Let’s Make Some Plans”) and all-around songwriting excellence.

Headache Rhetoric is another fine record which highlights Graeme Wilmington and Tom Donnelly’s full-bodied guitars and the sturdy rhythm section (Andrew’s brother Bob and Stewart McFayden). The vocals still obscure the lyrics, but no matter. However you slice them, songs like “Lovely Little Swan” and “Nature Thing” stay with you long after the album has ended.

[Doug Brod]