Three months ago I was worried. Very worried. Hearing the intro to ‘Artaud’ by The Cads, I resolved the band had turned to some dreamy, mis-directed dream wave sounds to open the album I had waited many, many months for. The follow up to the inspirational EP ‘Spark Up In Style’, they pulled it back from the brink thankfully, with a snappy melody that sets the tone for the debut. Low and behold, The Cads are back, and the last 12 months has seen them grow and develop into one of the best bands around as they departed their hometown of Ipswich for Leeds and Bristol in order to study, before working with David Pye at The Mill to create that much-desired album.
Opener ‘Artaud’ produces nimble indie-pop, interjected with sliding guitar riffs from the guys. It’s funky, vibrant and exactly what The Cads are all about. It takes just a soaring chorus for the trip-trapping indie pop to go down a storm with you. A breakdown builds up too, hushed vocals “take us back now, to the place where you can find” leading into instrumental oblivion that we’ve so missed from these Ipswich guys.
‘New Seed’ is appealing and captivating too, the driving melody turning into a hearty and welcoming chorus with upbeat bursts. Ricocheting drumming, frenetic chords and mysterious background noises make another cult ‘The Cads’ classic. The tone has changed and there’s no longer a sense that this is a young, teen band, but a band carving their own sound, standing tall amongst the indie-pop crowd. You’ll be able to pick it up as a free download from July 17th so keep your eyes open and be sure to check this one out.
For past fans; it’s time to get used to the progression, the progression which is epitomised in ‘Crinkle Cut’. It’s not always as ‘jagged’ indie-pop as the previous EP, but slightly softer, equally well-arranged pieces. Maybe think of the old ‘greats’ like ‘Club of Rome’ with some more potent ‘Sunshine At 7’ influences. This time the tracks have a laid back feel, with ‘Crinkle Cut’ just one highlight of the album, being melancholic and irresistible as the band swiftly urges the lyric “Crinkle cut kisses” within the chorus. The reverberating, guitar- shrieking breakdown is something else too, undeniable proof that the band have changed their sound for the better.
Hearing ‘Arbiter’ just reminds you why The Cads are so good. Why did we feature them as our ‘Ones To Watch’ all those months ago? Because they’re capable of ridiculously good music like this. Relatively punchier than much of the previous tracks, it steps up the tempo and has a frenzied chorus, laid down over repeated shouts of “Arbiter!”. They’ve gone to town on the outros and instrumentals, apparent in ‘Hinterland’ also, where a forceful melody propels into an energetic chorus whilst the more distant new sound seeps through the backdrop of the song, with the hazy and mysterious electronic sounds continuing into an unusual and fascinating outro.
Next up, ‘Sonar’ provides you with a mesmerising, Darwin Deez-esque vibe with the broken musicality, subsequently erupting into a pool of hypnotic daze. Back on track with ‘Crayola’, The Cads continuing to hit the spot, pleasantly playing their charming indie-pop ditty. They skilfully execute their adroit and shimmering track, with complete perfection as they carefully balance and refine darker, electric-indie guitar chords vocalising, “we take it slow, we take the pace away”, followed by subsequently more playful tones that provoke steady foot tapping and head nodding.
With its zealous beat, ‘Moss’ is another pschyadelic lo-fi indie pop sound, it’s clean and swift, carrying you along pleasantly with its bubbling sound. ‘Still Swimming’ carries a similar presence, with the jerky and pop fuelled essence flowing freely, just as the beers and the sunshine whenever you guys get to hear it. There is a hidden juggernauting flipside to it though, and it brings a monumental end to a monumental album.
With this debut album The Cads could have stuck to what they know they can do after the rave response from last year’s ‘laddish’ and joy-ridden EP. Instead they’ve progressed and matured their sound; the results are staggering. This is truly their own sound now and there couldn’t be a better time to release such a great collection of tracks. Few people have been remembering about The Cads this year, perhaps looking to Zulu Winter and co. instead for highlights of 2012, but this debut should be making those people feel largely stupid and regretful of their short-sighted overlooking’s. An album this good deserves to be going triple-platinum at the top of the chart. It saddens us to realise that it won’t, purely because of the modern music industry.
Just like The Cast of Cheers discreet free debut album back maybe 3 Summers ago now, if you can lay your hands on a copy of ‘Lessons: Illustrated’ you can sit suffice in the knowledge that you’re listening to one of the finest under-the-radar, independent releases of 2012. This is shaping up to be our favourite release of the year, and we say that whole-heartedly and even if this album was only our first time hearing The Cads delightful music. They’ve got their sound sorted, and some great tracks too like ‘Artaud’, ‘New Seed’, ‘Crinkle Cut’, ‘Crayola’ and more, only serving to prove why they deserve to be at the top. There are 9 tracks here and they’re all faultless in their own quaint ways. If you miss them, you’re a fool.