Album Review: Hooton Tennis Club – Highest Point in Cliff Town

By on Tuesday, 25th August 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Hooton Tennis Club Highest Point in Cliff Town album coverThe North West has always had an understandably strong sense of pride when it comes to churning out quality rock bands. Hooton Tennis Club, while still relative newcomers in the early days of their career in the industry, are of particular pride: they were one of the first signings to local Edge Hill University’s not-for-profit record label The Label Recordings, which I expect to have an important nurturing hand in the cultivation of young new groups from the region for years to come.

The band from Chester then went on in autumn 2015 to get signed to Heavenly Recordings, currently the label home of such artists we’ve featured here on TGTF such as Doves’ frontman Jimi Goodwin, Stealing Sheep, Temples and The Wytches. Not bad for a group who in a previous incarnation were merely a Supergrass covers band. This Friday, the lo-fi band – their members known by the extremely short and snappy names Khal, Haz, J. Dean and Uncle Ry – will be releasing their debut album ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’, recorded at Liverpool’s famed Parr Street Studios under the tutelage of childhood friend Bill Ryder-Jones.

Most folks’ first exposure to Hooton Tennis Club was their early single ‘Jasper’. Probably the best adjective to describe this song – and indeed, this album as a whole – is ‘easy’. Is their sound indicative of slacker laziness, or just a full-scale embracing of a slower way of life that we should contemplate further on? There were times when I was listening to this LP that I thought of The Beach Boys’ earlier, sunnier, more innocent pop leanings, especially recent 6 Music fixture ‘Kathleen Sat on the Arm of Her Favourite Chair’: “out on Market Hill, I get by with a couple of friends / and even if you’re lonely, maybe we could go for a walk in the park / or maybe go swimming? / I hope we don’t drown.” It was written in Ryder-Jones’ mum’s house, keeping on with that theme of innocence.

On the other side of the spectrum is upcoming single ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. P.I.E.R.R.E.’, also to be released on Friday. With its discordant, squealing guitars, it isn’t too hard to imagine the band with Ryder-Jones having a whale of a time recording it in the studio. (The animated promo video above also gives you the sense that this tune probably sounds better to stoners.) You get the same kind of feeling from LP opener ‘Up in the Air’, a lazy float down a garage pop song, punctuated with a “whoo!” at the end. Melodic guitars strum languidly by in ‘Something Much Quicker Than Anything Jennifer Could Imagine’ and ‘…And Then Camilla Drew Fourteen Dots on Her Knee’. Like text speak? Have a gander at the titles for ‘Always Coming Back 2 You’ and ‘Fall in Luv’ (groan).

This isn’t earth-shattering, genre-bending, experimental music. But if the popularity of Courtney Barnett, Mac DeMarco and Happyness is anything to go by, Hooton Tennis Club will do just fine.

6/10

‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’, Hooton Tennis Club’s debut album effort, will be released this Friday, the 28th of August, on Heavenly Recordings. You can listen to the band in session and chatting with Lauren Laverne last week on BBC 6 Music here; they’ll be on tour in the UK in October and November. For all things Hooton Tennis Club on TGTF, head this way.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

E-mail us  |  RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us