Nobody gives good angular quite like the roster of bands on Upset The Rhythm. More jagged than jangly, these bands have “uncompromising DIY ethos” stitched into their underwear. So it is with Buffet Lunch, a reassuringly bonkers bunch who divide their time between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This, their debut album, is unlikely to trouble mainstream Amazon playlists; they’re far better than that. They are not easy to pigeonhole, and the fact that this was recorded in Argyll only makes them all the more endearing. No whizz-bang rock ‘n’ roll locations for them.
Perry O’Bray’s voice may make many listeners nostalgic for the mid-80s days of John Peel, when the auld fella chuckled fondly after playing another Fall session, or 7 inch single by The Three Johns, just loving his job and the indie treasures therein. O’Bray’s chanted/sung lead vocals are staccato poetry, calling to mind Devo or Davey Henderson in The Fire Engines. There’s that shared mania and lyrical lucidity.
Pebbledash has a Beefheart/Cardiacs frenzy pulsing in its DNA, all brittle stop/start percussion from Luke Moran, and it addresses the stereotypical white van man with such savagery that it’s enough to make Nigel Farage choke on his full English breakfast. Said Bernie has a rolling country groove… until it doesn’t, and implodes. Looking At Liz Talent’s Chair is a wiggly anti-waltz with John Muir’s guitar clang pushed front and centre.
Conversely, Jayne Dent from great electronic outfit Me Lost Me provides an angelic counterpoint with her vocals in the gorgeous, chiming Ten Times, a psychedelic folk song for disenfranchised people in pandemic-induced isolation, and pops up again on Ashley’s New Haircut, a lilting sea shanty. These two tracks are a nice riposte to the slapdash energy elsewhere, but it’s all welcome, and incredibly self-assured.