Monday, 14 September 2015

The OK Social Club - Baby Eat Your Heart Out Review

The OK Social Club are a contemporary indie pop five-piece operating out of Edinburgh, Scotland. With an affinity for uptempo melodies, punchy lyrics, and a particular knack for writing downright infectious hooks, the group have been making waves in the Scottish music scene of late. But you've probably never heard of them.

Their relative anonymity is of no detriment to their prowess as a band, however. The group have developed a small but zealous following as well as critical appraisal and numerous awards for their songcraft and live performances respectively. Now, after a brief stint of touring, the boys are back with sophomore effort, Baby Eat Your Heart Out, and if you're a fan of sharp guitar driven pop tunes reminiscent of the early 2000's indie boom you might have found yourself a new favourite band.

When listening to this record one becomes aware of two very prevalent themes running through its veins.

The first, and most evident, is progress. This is not progress in terms of artistry; nor of technical skill - the band are still sticking very much to the highly uncomplicated style they have adhered to since their very first releases - instead there is a clear improvement in their understanding of playing together as a unit. From the syncopated guitar breaks of "Tough Love (Waiting For Something To Happen)" to the unrelenting pace of closer, "In A Heartbeat", the band have never sounded better, and this further affirms the second intent of the album.

The OK Social Club want to be your next go-to live act. In a world of ever increasingly stale live performances and lackluster tours they will be the one constant in your musical calendar guaranteed to leave you satisfied with your night. These guys want the mosh pits, they crave the chants, they can almost taste the cups filled with piss flying across the stage like urinary grenades. Standout tracks like "Woman and Children First" and "5s (It's In Your Blood)" exemplify OSC's potential as gigging Gods in the making, these such songs combine Raff Eragona's impassioned vocals with fetching riffs and truly powerful singalong choruses to create an archetypal stadium band sound.

"When your head feels like / It was just for a game of fives tonight / Hair of the dug and it'll be alright", sings Eragona on latter-mentioned 5s. Soundbite lines such as this showcase the band's ambitions of lad-rock glory, straddling the line between hilarity and actual hard-hitting resonance.
The Okay Social Club are following in the footsteps of The View and Glasvegas in their aspirations and considering the overt disappointment of these outfit's latest releases, and general decline in artistic merit - The View in particular - I don't think its crazy to assume they have what it takes to surpass them.

Though there are points when this album falters, don't get me wrong, Baby Eat Your Heart Out suffers from usual tropes associated with Lad-Rock. Several tracks just seem unable to ever truly find their place. Album opener "A La Mode" deviates most from the band's typical sound, and is particularly clunky in its attempts to incorporate drum machines and synths into the mix.
The lyrics too can sometimes be too much, with Eragona venturing into the realms of self-parody with some terribly contrived lines. The band easily shrug these imperfections off with the sheer energy of this record, however, and they make far too few mistakes to get hung up about it.

This is a fun record, like really fun. If you're a fan of Lad-Rock, or just great guitar pop, you're going to dig this release. Give it a download.

Jack McGlone

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