BEULAH – If We Can Land A Man On The Moon Then Why Can’t I Win Your Heart?
ESSEX GREEN – Primrose
These two are about as good as indiepop gets these days, which naturally means they have to overcome an overriding sense of cosiness, jauntiness and retreat into formula to affect, let alone effect. “If We Can Land On The Moon …” gets away with it brilliantly, though, despite its slight late 70s powerpop overtones. Somehow the conscious eccentricity in the instrumentation is charming rather than irritating, the failed and down-at-heel cod-symphonic element moves, and it defines the indiepop variety of love song (utterly lacking in any confidence of your own abilities, I-am-weak-how-can-I-reach-you rather than I-am-strong-know-I-can-reach-you) better than pretty much anything else I’ve heard. And at least the nostalgia for past “innocence”, which Simon Reynolds was right to define as a key part of the indie mindset back in 1986 (since when very little has really changed, at least not for these purists), only affects the background of the song rather than its entire production and delivery.

“Primrose”, though, is pure unbridled pastiche, based around a Lovin’ Spoonful rhythm, guitar solo and organ, incredibly cliched girl backing vocals, gradually building itself up, sounding like every bright-as-a-button 60s song you’ve ever heard. Its intent is clearly to make the listener imagine the fabled swinging handbag. It’s the most enjoyable and likeable period pastiche I’ve heard for a long time, but I can’t help being pushed down by an incredible sense of shame at my pleasure, such is its conscious, exaggerated and, I suspect, cynical use of period stylings. What should concern the gatekeepers of the indiepop mentality is that it’s far better than most of the other music they are promoting at the moment.