Standard Fare: Out of Sight, Out of Town
With their debut album, the Sheffield trio Standard Fare established themselves as punchy twee indie rockers. A couple of years later, they’ve honed their sound further to mature a bit. The writing’s not complicated poetry, and the music’s not meant to challenge. Instead, Standard Fare provide a frenetic, lo-fi soundtrack to make angst sound fun.
Two members, Emma Kupa and Danny How, trade off on vocals throughout Out of Sight, Out of Town to give the tracks that much more dimension. Kupa’s voice is reminiscent of The Cure’s Robert Smith, yelping affectedly with emotion while retaining a pure English accent. In contrast, How’s vocals are smoother, more patient. Each one is capable of commanding a tune, but it’s when they join in on the same track, such as on “Kicking Puddles,” that the band’s full potential is demonstrated. Long-lasting acts like Belle and Sebastian and The Vaselines have employed this trick, and Standard Fare are quite capable of joining those ranks.
Other standout tracks on Out of Sight, Out of Town include “Bad Temper,” with powerful bass and a frenzied tone recalling Ash’s heyday; “Older Women,” a good-humored glare in the direction of someone with an eye for cougars; and “Half Sister,” which employs some surprising reggae tones while calling out to an estranged relative.
This album’s much more polished than its predecessor, but it hasn’t lost the group’s touch. Calling on indie rock and power punk, Standard Fare are making music that sounds nostalgic while looking forward to a brighter future and resurging guitar rock.