You want a spurious local connection? Faux Discx are the label run by Dan Reeves of Cold Pumas, the ace Brighton band who recently played Cardiff with Calgary’s Friendo, who are one of the bands on these split 7″s, who… well, that’s it I guess. But releases like these are their own reward, and the fact that microlabels like FD are even existing and spewing out a lifeblood of tiny bands and scratchy dreams offsets a lot of the gloom constantly swirling about. Of the four bands represented here it’s the aforementioned Friendo who have the canniest grasp of pop dynamics: ‘Germanic Panic’ is excellent three-chord chug, full of strident cool, that drops out, breaks down, then ramalamas back at the muddy end. The fact that Michael Wallace of Women is a member is made too much of; ‘Germanic Panic’ is driven by Nicole Brunel’s phlegmy sass, something also demonstrated in her equally strutting other groups Topless Mongos, Puberty, Womb Baby, The Shrapnelles and (probably) more. On the flip, fellow Cannucks Lab Coast display similar charms, this time beamed from inside a sun baked metal shed. ‘Astronaut Like Me’ is claustrophobic but joyous, dripping guitar notes tracing a single buzzing chord over baritone vocals and agitated cardboard box drums. The moment near the end when the almost-chorus splashes in is a heartburster.
That’s the Yellow 7″. Synaesthetes may find the Magenta split better or worse for their own reasons, though everyone should lend an ear. If pushed, you’d have to say Ale Mania‘s contribution, enjoyably slight though it is (needles and pins guitar fighting hazy synth throb, the vocals less there than the memory of a dream), is the worst thing here, a fact compunded by proximity to one of 2011′s great belting discoveries. Sauna Youth clatter out of the traps like some brilliant fusion of Lovvers, Shitty Limits and an exitable puppy, exuberant two-chord garage seen through a cracked pop filter. Vocals that keep threatening cute gang chants get twisted by studio elves, guitars plugged into unstoppable grinning momentum… ‘Backgrounds’ is a blast. That it forms only one quarter of a scorecard that reads “2 7″s, 3 supersmart treats, 1 promising flash and 1 fine label” is another reason to high-five strangers.