Label: A&G Records Website: Myspace Gloria Cycles, one of few bands that could feature in the guide ‘How to find your new band name on a pub wall listings board’ hail from Brighton and deliver a bargain bin of anything with the temerity to call itself indie-pop. Campsite Discotheque at first lacks cohesion, and then when it gains the good sense to find a style and stick to it that decision is taken with such lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm as to make you wish for the old scattergun approach. Too tight to have a charm of improvisation, too uptight to be fun but too competent to be laughably terrible, the best approach is to let the album wash over you, or better yet enjoy them as isolated songs on shuffle. It would be harsh to say there’s nothing here to be enjoyed, as Gloria Cycles craft song after song of satisfying background noise that seems destined for adverts, clothes shops and boozy festival campsites everywhere. The album’s opener ‘Astronaut Swapshop’ wafts from a dreamy psychedelic opening into a bog-standard Kooks/Jack Penate style track. The most interesting thing about it is the name itself – I’ll trade you my Aldrin for your Gagarin? Who knows. After that comes ‘Chancer’, one of the strongest songs on ‘Campsite Discotheque’, a spikier and snarlier beast than the cuddly creatures surrounding it. ‘Religious’ instantly opens with a distinct taste of being far too much like Arctic Monkeys, but upon that realisation quickly runs back to its Penate-ish haven, picking up some Beach Boys style backing vocals on the way. Some could say it’s sweet and fun, I’d suggest naive and underdone. ‘Bag’ is a pleasant surprise, a more graceful and elegant song than all that have gone before, even swapping out the male vocalist for a harmonious female singer. It sounds almost like a different band, but less like every other band. Instantly hope is lost with the all-too-The-Enemy ‘Chewed Up’, if you swapped out the crap towns vibe, for a troubled relationship one. A second song featuring the criminally underused bassist’s voice ‘Diplomatic Dining Cycles’ proves to be the albums final highlight before descending into an amorphous blur of similar sounding tracks that seem to be not jumping on, but instead chasing frantically after a bandwagon. One that left speedily years ago. After a good few listens I’m no closer to knowing exactly what Gloria Cycles were going for. Even the cover shows a total confusion of identity, mixing a deco aesthetic with some disco paraphernalia in an ugly collage of British Sea Power, Tom Vek and Danger visuals. Nowhere on this record is there a suggested direction, no pointing fingers, no signposts. It’s hard to even guess whether Gloria Cycles themselves believe they have achieved what they set out to do. Between the missteps, the re-treads and the naivety, Gloria Cycles show glimpses of what they could do, given more time and direction, but the lack of depth and character may linger longer than any of the songs. For a band with a talented vocalist (step forward, Jen Dalby) and competent musicians that has to be a shame. Photobucket