Hard working London-based trio The Wave Pictures return with Long Black Cars, the latest in a long line of releases that hark back to a string of self-released material from 1998 onwards. Led by David Tattersall The Wave Pictures are a band who are familiar on the festival circuit and have played and collaborated with the likes of Herman Dune and Allo Darlin’, throughout this time they have developed a devoted cult following. Constantly touring, The Wave Pictures have a calling in classic sounding indie pop and have a humble attitude that fits well with their line in self-effacing humour.

Opener ‘ Stay Here & Take Care of the Chickens’ doesn’t really live up to its funny name as it comes with a 60s vibe that is surprisingly sinister: “Take a look, maybe this is the face that will haunt you.” With guitar work in thrall to Dire Straits, the yelled backing vocals contrast neatly with David Tattersall’s fragile tones. Following this is ‘Eskimo Kiss’, a heavier song, omplete with obscenely direct lyrics and shotgun-sounding guitars, that seemed strangely reminiscent of a newer Arctic Monkeys album track. The Wave Pictures have lost none of their sense of macabre humour as ‘Never Go Home Again’ opens with the lines: “Milk bubbled out of the bottle in clotted lumps of foul cream” before moving on to the sinister: “We jumped a little in the middle of the night” and the repeated strains of: “We can never go home again.” All this against a set of handclaps that bring to mind Villagers at their happiest and then the most sudden of endings.

The band stick resolutely to the sound they have developed for so many years – one that falls somewhere between Richard Hawley’s emotional outpourings and Jeffrey Lewis’s semi-autobiographical self-loathing ramblings. ‘Cut them Down in the Passes’ has a jangly sound more in tone with The Smiths or Suede as David sings so many words he struggles to fit them all in in time! Marching drums mix with acoustic and electric strums and the shouted vocals make this song very much a modern sea shanty. The folky vibe returns on ‘Hoops’, a song that features a harmonica and distressed instruments collapsing around Tattersall as he sings: “I still fail to see how you expected me to jump through any more of your hoops.” Appropriately, ‘Spaghetti’ has the atmosphere of a Western soundtrack with its driving bassline and “I knew than that you’d never forget me” singalong.

‘Give Me a Second Chance’ opens like it could have been from the Britpop scene with heavier bouncy guitars but then they begin to get a bit too much, and towards the middle it appears to be showing off for the sake of it. ‘The West Country’ is more familiar territory, with heartbreak and lost love very much on the vocal-led agenda: “Everywhere, a honey suckle smell, I hope you’re doing well.” The observational style really does add to the imagery conveyed within the songs, ‘Seagulls’ for example has the brilliant line: “I see seagulls picking up the bones of a cat” and the more matter of fact “The uniform you and your friends wore embarrassed me more than anything I’d seen before.” The closing song, the title track ‘Long Black Cars’, opens with talk of pirates and wasps to a tune that comes somewhere between The Cure and Kid Harpoon. David sings to himself: “David, your brother is coming home, like you always thought he would” and ends the record on a more upbeat note. No great departure for The Wave Pictures, but the mixture of pop and folk on this album is sure to satisfy their fans – at least until their next release.