By The Wooden Spoons
The twinkly piano-pop of lead-track 'You Can Call Me Peter' isn't an instant hit, its twee Englishness being initially underwhelming. However, persevere and you'll start to see echoes of Las Vegas superstars Panic at The Disco in The Wooden Spoons' jaunty piano refrains and carnival vibe, even if they use a much lighter touch than Panic.
'You Can...' kicks off in shaky fashion with some clunky piano and jarring lurches between its many different segments, while the vocals sounds oddly slurry. Things only fall into place after the halfway point, as The Wooden Spoons layer on twinkly synths, bells and dreamily distorted "la-la-la" vocals and finish the song on a high that's subtly unclassifiable, and hugely addictive. The instrumental end-section does go on a bit, but it bounds along with so much quaint charm that you can overlook its self-indulgence.
'You Can...' is a grower, and by the third or fourth listen, you'll find yourself hooked on its gentle charisma and woozy, summer's-afternoon vibe.
Second track 'Tonight, I Am The Record Man' continues The Wooden Spoons ethos of being a little bit different. However, this time they introduce a big-band, jazzy vibe and a huge, hook-laden chorus. It's surprising to hear the vocalist hitting those big notes after the sometimes-sketchy vocals of 'You Can...' Why he couldn't sound this good on the opening track is anybody's guess.
The first half of 'Tonight, I Am....' may be all jazzy backing track and understated cool, but The Wooden Spoons then undo their good work by lurching between the choruses and the verses and destroying the flow of the song. Also working against them is a celestial, choir-like echo that's added to the vocals towards the end, which sounds odd and cheesy in equal measures. However, the rest of the song is so good, that 'Tonight, I Am...' can get away with these misjudgements.
Musically, this EP is impressively well executed and produced, especially considering how complicated it is. While initially the Wooden Spoons' desire to be different may leave you unsure what to make of them, their music has enough charisma to win over the bewildered. The Wooden Spoons require a few of listens to get used to, but it's well worth investing that time, because this is a band that's almost guaranteed to grow on you.