Dublin band Story of Hair showed great promise with their debut EP 'The Ho! Ho! Ho! Stamp' last year, and with their first long-player Cheap Rate, they've predominantly delivered on it. One of the most loveable things about the boy-girl collective has always been their ability to balance infectiously catchy pop tunes with homemade indie values - which often gives their songs a ramshackle ambience, albeit one exploding with charisma and likeability.
Most of Cheap Rate's fourteen tracks gleam with a similar gaiety, providing a consistently jerky energy, an abundance of well-rounded melodies and an eruption of chiming, sometimes discordant guitar work that's as piercing as it is memorable. Short, sharp blasts of noise-pop are what Story of Hair excel at, and standout tracks including sinister, saucy pop instrumental RTE, the grimy, ballsy rock of Dropdown and the blustery tumult of kooky number Yes/No Gameshow ("Some people think the word 'fuck' / Is a conversational crutch / But I don't think so").
The quartet also demonstrate a knack for unpredictable tempo changes on almost every track - but perhaps best heard on the amusing Steal A Bike and quirky clarion-call Big Melt. True, the ceaseless tempo (apart the lovely, sparse docility of Unsteady) does lose steam about half-way through, and there are often so many ideas and swerving turns crammed into some of these songs, that there's a danger of overloading. On the other hand, it's exciting to realise that Story of Hair are a band positively bubbling with creativity, and we look forward to the next phase of their career with anticipation.