Music Reviews

Welcome Sirs

(Fatcat) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

In a year that's seen a number of experiments with the Beatles' legacy - Love, Let It Be Naked - here's an album that seems to ask what might have happened if the Scouse four-piece had instead been a bunch of college dropouts in late 80s Seattle. Sirs takes the twisted pop of the Revolver era and feeds it through Syd Barrett and the crazy last days of the Beach Boys, and finds itself subsequently camped in a low-rent garage with rented instruments somewhere in Suburbia.

Welcome have been around for a dozen or so years now but their recorded back catalogue is skinny in the extreme. Basically a traditional foursome, their cv includes lengthy hiatuses and stints with other bands, as well as periodic changes in line-up. Hailing from Seattle, the band that plays on this album comprises Jo Claxton on bass and vocals, Jon Treneff on drums, Pete Brand on guitars and vocals and Mike Wurn on guitar.

Sirs is not quite half an hour long and was recorded mostly in one take in the Brand's basement before mixing; the sound is fresh and slightly unfinished. The ten tracks offer a catalogue of influences and presences; spiky guitars and angular diversions of the alt-rock variety dominate; the best tracks feature Claxton's Deal-esque vocals, while elsewhere bittersweet, largely impenetrable lyrics conjure up memories of Sonic Youth. None of the songs follow conventional arrangements and the palate swings from warm melodies to claustrophobic menace.

Worth checking out and, we hope, soon to be visiting Europe, Welcome offer intelligent, provocative rock. The only problem is at this rate it will be another decade before the follow up appears.