Smalltown America has had some year, with the likes of And So I Watch You From Afar, Le Faro and Fighting With Wire all drawing some well deserved attention to the independent Belfast label. Their latest release, the debut album from duo Tanya Mellotte and Mark Gordon AKA SkiBunny bears little resemblance to those acts, however, their bright, bouncy and trivial electronic pop having more in common with the label's alumni artists Oppenheimer and Hooray For Humans. Those aren't entirely fair comparisons either though, as SkiBunny's sweet chill out tunes and dance-worthy indie electro tracks twinkle with a hazy production sheen that makes them much more user-friendly.
Both former students of Edinburgh University, the synthesised strings of 'Stand Up' seem to echo the Scottish sounds of The Delgados in an effervescent, distinctive manner. Meanwhile, distorted guitars give 'Up Down' a more indie rock edge, which continues through the stomping 'Walk Don't Walk' alongside fast-paced beats and driving bass. The Go! Team's Kaori Tsuchida lends her vocals to the quirkier sounds of 'All In This Together' but they seem sharp and harsh in comparison to Mellotte's soft, mellifluous voice, which is doubled up to form gratifying harmonies all throughout this record.
Sure, these kind of lightweight pop songs are relatively throwaway, particularly considering rehashed lyrics like "Here I am again, walk don't walk/Here we go again, talk don't talk" convey little meaning, but with songs as infectious as 'Aah Ooh' and 'Remote Control', you certainly won't want to throw 'Hugs' away any time soon.