Copy Haho – Bred For Skills And Magic EP (Big Scary Monsters)

Charlie Ashcroft | Monday, 16 February 2009

Copy Haho – Bred For Skills And Magic EP (Big Scary Monsters)

Characterised by its effortless pop hooks, witty lyrics and an admirable range of tone, Copy Haho’s first release since signing to Big Scary Monsters is a modest triumph to say the least.

‘Bred For Skills And Magic’ has a rousing opener in the form of ‘Pulling Push Ups’, which immediately marks singer Joe Hearty out as a type of antihero, yelling forth an intriguing series of proverbs and game show slogans amid a happy riot of chiming guitars.

While such clear-cut liveliness brings to mind the best elements of Los Campesinos and Born Ruffians, the three minutes still provide much evidence to suggest that Copy Haho are treading their own determined path.

Elsewhere, ‘The Last Dash’ and the brilliantly-titled ‘This Retro Decade’ have the band demonstrating their versatility with ease, gracefully veering between soft and loud in such a fashion that the likes of Stephen Malkmus and Bob Pollard would undoubtedly approve.

Such relenting and building back up makes the affair an absorbing listen, while simultaneously auguring well for any album the lads may put together and throw at us in the future.

Repeated listens to this EP bring even more detail to the surface, with particular mention going to former B-side ‘Cutting Out The Bad’, which has been re-worked rather wonderfully to combine its already spiky instrumentation with some wounded strings, giving the song’s chorus an even greater sense of heart.

Alongside an impressive array of castles and the restaurant in which the battered Mars Bar is said to have originated, Copy Haho’s debut EP has given the town of Stonehaven further reason to be proud of its lineage.

With ‘Bred For Skills And Magic’, the Scottish quartet have not only consolidated the potential shown by their early singles ‘Bookshelf’ and ‘You Are My Coal Mine’, but actually gone and delivered a superb five-track offering, full of charm and understated swagger.

Rating: 4.5/5