Standard Fare – Out of Sight, Out of Town

January 01, 1970



This second outing from the Sheffield
trio is just as bright and brash, just as cockily confessional as The Noyelle Beat, but a good deal better
groomed. Singer Emma Kupa (sometimes spelled this way, sometimes as “Cooper”)
remains a distinctive element, her voice crackling with boisterous energy, as
she confides life’s triumphs and obstacles in the most detailed way. Yet this
time, Danny Howe seems more of a presence, in the gleeful, ska-tinged guitar
mayhem of “Half Sister” and “Suitcase,” the blaring fuzz of “Kicking Puddles,” and
in the jaunty, poppy vocals of “Bad Temper.” Maybe it’s clearer production that
shines a brighter spotlight on Howe’s playing, as well as the rackety,
continuous explosion drumming of bandmate Andy Beswick. In any case, this time
the instruments seem less like a foil for Kupa, more like a cohesive element of
the whole.


As always Standard Fare doesn’t ignore the world’s sorry
state as much as skate right over it. “Suitcase,” the disc’s happy-go-luckiest
tune, bubbles and squawks and fizzes though a paranoid landscape of hoarded
canned fruit and underground bunkers. The songs that Kupa sings are the darker,
more novelistic ones, scratching out character sketches and scenarios in a few
well chosen lines. Her songs take odd turns, summoning Darth Vader, for
instance, to liven up a song about the fear of abandonment (“Darth Vader”) and
exploring lots of different kinds of love (involving older women, estranged
siblings and girl-on-girl affection)  in
an uninflected, rattle-on stream of consciousness. Howe seems to speak more
from the heart – or at least personal experience – contemplating unrequited
love, mostly, though he team with Kupa for an extended ode to no-strings sex
(“Call Me Up”).     


Out of Sight, Out of
feels like a cleaner, slightly more sophisticated realization of Noyelle Beat‘s potential. The old
crackle and fizz still percolates, but the songs seem a bit more adventurously
written, structured and performed. “Crystal Palatial,” for instance, is a
Salinger story compressed into three minutes of joy-riding pop, their best song
yet, and a promise of still better things ahead.


DOWNLOAD: “Crystal Palatial”,
“Suitcase,” “Kicking Puddles” JENNIFER

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