"This is a song from our new album, which has a space theme...as one reviewer put it," quipped Brakes guitarist Thomas White at the recent Cockpit gig. His sarcasm is well placed because, aside from the album's cover, it is tricky to find the intergalactic element the writer might be referring to.
The only track with a blatant space reference is second single '(Don't Take Me To) Space Man,' a song about a relationship that might be ruined should aliens decide to bear down on earth and abduct lead singer Eamon Hamilton. ("Don't take me to space, man / I've had a taste of true love / I don't care if this world's corrupted / I don't want to be abducted.")
This song is a great example of what the chief architect of Brakes' lo-fi/alt country rock sound does so wonderfully in his lyrics. Nuances of everyday life, subtly disguised in bizarre narratives that draw you in, only later realising the overarching meaning of the song.
Listening through the album is akin to having a successful night on the pull in a bar. Each song tries to charm its way into your attention, begging you to make it your favourite. And it really is so hard to chose; they're all so attractive.
Opener 'Two Shocks' has an immediate, understated impact; country stomper 'Worry About It Later' dares you not to tap along; 'Crush On You' is a slow burner with a catchy repeating hook; 'Why Tell The Truth (When Its Easier to Lie)' is a great manifesto for getting through doing the tasks that you want to avoid.
Indeed, the only skippable track is possibly 'Red Rag,' a raucous minute and half of sheer sonic aggression that somehow seems out of place between two of the more twee numbers.
In complete contrast to this, final (non-hidden) track 'Leaving England' is a lovely autobiographical song about, well, leaving England "to see what I can find." Eamon's move to New York must surely have been inspiration for these words.
So in actual fact, the album has a much more 'Earthly' feel than the front cover may suggest. The subjects on hand are familiar to us all, even if you have to brush through some of the lyrics to see them clearly.