Review: No Sozopol – Now That We Have Your AttentionTweet
Review: Justin McDaid
Between the years 2005-2011, there existed a band by the name of No Sozopol. This band no longer exists – at least not in the form that it did for the recording of their one and only album ‘Now That We Have Your Attention’, comprising brothers Gareth and Niall Ebbs along with Brian Leonard. This is a posthumous release of sorts, a kind of monument to a much-loved project that fought against the odds and lost. There are allusions on their website to the album’s difficult birth, and as happens to the best of them, the band parted ways. These days ‘No Sozopol is Gareth Ebbs and Gareth Ebbs is No Sozopol’, just like Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices before him. Ebbs has been simultaneously creating new sounds under the moniker Sweet Stasis as well as making sure this hard-won album got its dues, and I’m glad he did.
Clocking in under the thirty minute mark, this is snappy, familiar if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it indie rock, with often hazy vocals and Johnny Marr guitar slinging. If anyone was to level a criticism at this release, it would be that it can come across as formulaic. Although, when the formula is an infectious verse erupting into a big fuck-off chorus such criticism is irrelevant; this album is the perfect visitor – it entertains, never outstays its welcome, and leaves you with a fond memory of its presence. It hooks you in from the start with a guitar theme straight out of a Roger Corman flick before jangling off in a brighter direction.
Things continue in this vein for the duration, with irresistible phased guitars and high harmonies – see Cyclones and the Sun to see how it’s done …yeah! “Something In The Way” begins the lyric that opens There You are, before mop-top harmonising mingles with Cure-like guitars in this giddy love song. Outrage in the Suburbs meanwhile pulsates along nicely, driven by an insistent guitar, as does the effect-laden The US Theorem with its dreamy instrumentation.
Things take on a heavier hue with the fuzzy, spoken-vocal outing of Space Thoughts Time Collect, metallically resonating like ‘Trompe le Monde’-era Pixies – right down to the name – with a nice rush to the finale as the band shout the song’s title. Two minutes after it starts, it’s gone again; a mini-masterclass in race-for-the-prize songwriting. The immediacy and elation of the sounds on this record are to be cherished all the more owing to the knowledge that this may be the only record this collective will ever release. Still, in an optimistic mood after this half hour of indie lustre, I have to ask …okay No Sozopol, now that you have our attention… what next?