The Seal Cub Clubbing Club – Super Science Fiction (Jack to Phono)

Michael Shelton | Tuesday, 03 March 2009

The Seal Cub Clubbing Club – Super Science Fiction (Jack to Phono)

The Seal Cub Clubbing Club (try saying that three times) have already been compared to Radiohead because of their unconventional choruses and occasionally mumbling lyrics. But it is a little unfair to associate them with one of the best British bands of the past fifteen years who themselves polarise opinion.

With random track titles like 'Slow Motion Powerslides (In Dee)' and 'Song for Haku', it feels as if they are trying a little too hard to get noticed, whilst at the same time attempting to assert their musical independence. They should have more faith in their song-writing; no gimmicks are necessary.

'World Of Fashion' is an inspired choice to open the album. Its catchy bass line and string accompaniment could have been transported from a 70s disco classic. The lyrics are playfully suggestive and remain just the right side of coarse: "His wife’s a dish / I’d love to send back to ask for more".

'Lone Planet' is a much more lo-fi affair, with a soft wispy feel in the Belle and Sebastian mould. The album shifts mood again with '3ft Of Air', which manages to sound like Arcade Fire with lyrics by Pete Doherty and guitar by Status Quo. The live performance must be a joy to behold.

'Dawn Lamb' and 'P-S-P-M' are closest to the Radiohead sound. Both switch musical tangents at regular intervals, as the lyrics alternate between the overly profound ("Those annoying moments of silence that often plague the unbrave") and the inaudible. 'Dawn Lamb' has an eminently commercial quality with its catchy chorus, whilst remaining uniquely grungy.

'My 10 Acres' features a more electronic-led sound. It is as if the band want to prove they can branch off in several musical directions and still produce interesting songs. Although slightly jarring, it is refreshing to hear tracks full of such ambition. And this ambition is perfectly encapsulated in the album’s closing track. Gloriously overblown and under-produced, you can almost forgive them for this extravagant overindulgence.

Overall, Super Science Fiction is an enjoyably eclectic collection from a band still searching to find their best sound.

Rating: 3/5