From their provocative name to their lean, bright songs, Socialist Leisure Party are a band of a sort we haven't heard for a very long while. And yet, in the subtle but undeniable way they acknowledge and engage with the modern world, they are a band unlike any we've heard before. Featuring singer-guitarist Andy Hitchcock and bassist Kevin House (both formerly of Sarah Records/Damaged Good/Fierce Panda signings Action Painting!), plus guitarist Axel Amicabile and drummer Julien Kokot, Socialist Leisure Party have been working toward their debut EP, the wonderfully titled Tactical POP! for Coffee Cadets (perhaps a winking nod to Fire Engines' epochal Lubricate Your Living Room album, which that band described as "background music for action people"), since 2006. With what will soon be recognized as characteristic insurrectionary fire, Hitchcock explains that their name was chosen "for its deliberate awkwardness, as an antidote to an atmosphere of smug apathy and marketing subservience in the British music scene. Their intent: to be the anti-Kooks. 'Socialist' is a taboo word in the British media, a cuss word more potent than any cliched blaspheme expected of a 'rock and roll' band." Make of that statement what you will: The eight songs that make up Tactical POP! brim with a relentless vigour that needs no explanation to be understood. The band's briskly strummed guitars and galloping rhythms, and Hitchcock's eternally youthful voice, combine to make some of the most effortlessly engaging pop in recent – or even long-distant – memory. From the unashamedly romantic declaration that is "Scented Crowbar" to the band's eponymous theme song (a playful echo of Orange Juice's "Moscow Olympics"), this is music to which you can dance, fall in love, plot a revolution either personal or public. But it can't be ignored.
item # 31059