• Wayne: Shitty Beatles? Are they any good?
  • Tiny: They suck.
  • Wayne: Then it's not just a clever name.

Let me clarify that I’m not stating that Standard Fare are a shitty band and that the aforementioned profane term does not define their most recent record, Out of Sight, Out of Town. Far from it, in fact. However, the above quote (from one of the greatest movies of all time darnit) summarises the issue with bands who confusingly choose names seemingly designed for negative critical judgement. So, to save time and in an attempt to reroute some of that lazy sloppiness, Standard Fare are far from standard. But they aren’t quite exceptional fare yet either on this, their sophomore album, a collection of grin inducing indie rock tracks rocketing along their own trail of self vivacity.

The initial addictive sweetness of previous tracks, such as ‘Dancing’, initially drew me to the group, with the splendidly syrup sonant tones of front woman Emma Kupa ensnaring my attention. The same voice seeps into the record from the get-go on opener ‘Look For Lust’, rummaging around, seemingly unaware of it’s own candied temptation. Tracks like ‘Older Women’ and ‘Half Sister’ showcase that sly power vocal strain on bouncy chords, playing with ‘pop’ in a true, stripped bare format. The band can’t veer too far from one of two realms, musically. Primarily, they have the chirpy, cheeky jangle, as seen on ‘Suitcase’, a love affair with quick travel, bunkers and nuclear fallout preparation. Then, to bat with the other side of the stick, Standard Fare pull out the closest thing to a ballad that indie pop can manage. We have a sappy, self-aware mixture of despair and love, with the wonderfully titled ‘Darth Vader’ chronicling a temporary departure with all the melancholy it requires in the indie world, with Kupa crooning ‘Let me go and you’ll see that I will return’.

Based out of Sheffield, the trio sound more West Coast rollick than Northern industrial steel, spicing every damn track with roving little riffs and a jingle-jerk honesty that’s rooted in a desire to get dancing feet down and dirty. It’s almost a love letter to the C86 movement, with the male-female dynamic matched recently by the likes of Summer Camp and Slow Club, all echoing an indie pop force cemented by the great Belle & Sebastian.

Clocking in at around half an hour for 12 tracks, we see that the band embody that spirit of short, sharp pop, aiming each track at around the fabled three minute mark. Just long enough to stick in the memory but short enough to avoid any ennui. Blaring forth a fusion of good-hearted humour, old fashioned love stories and striding, stomping musical mirth, Standard Fare furnish their world with a wry, swaying smile that, whilst not quite Fab Four, is miles away from Shitty Beatles, as their pop craftsmanship has seen them produce a concise second album that leaps through the Wintry haze.