The Research - The Old Terminal
Miss Fliss 27/10/2008
Are The Research twee? Let's see... Casio keyboards that sound like the ones I got for Christmas aged 10, vocals not quite this side of in tune, and bittersweet tales of love wooing (but mostly) woe were all the order of the day for the aptly titled Breaking Up, The Research's debut album (2006), but is there a new direction for that difficult second album? One song features a Flumps style brass solo, so it's safe to say not!
What is a departure is the album artwork which is something of a dull disappointment. A rather drab depiction of a feller in motorbike riding gear, with bike splayed nearby on a dirt track says considerably less than the domesticity of the disappointed boyfriend's head turned to forlornly watch a taxi cab ride off into the dark distance captured on the band's debut album. Its artwork along with the covers of the singles it spawned had individual stories to visually portray. I wouldn't normally judge a CD by its cover, but when you've come to expect stories in pictures to match the vernacular lyricisms of relationships…
The first flow of tracks on The Old Terminal glister to the surface very pleasantly and melody-centric indeed. I hate to use the word mellow, but here we have it, a slow-mo paced Research, and it's quite lovely. Lost Souls in the Vapours brings to mind Buddy Holly's Rollercoaster, even when I forget it ever reminded me of that song, I'll put it on and there is the resemblance staring me in the face again! I can't think of any other sweet indie music makers that have been fitfully inspired by the bespectacled man, though, so hats off to The Research, it works really well in this reinvented blurted out mini pop form. I Think She's The One I Love is a twinkling indie disco romance that sweeps even the most cynical of people off their feet.
It's after this trio of successes that my attention starts to veer. The album works as a simpering background affair, but not as the hook-laden, golden pop, sing-along wonder that their debut album embodied to such heavenly glorious proportions. Shame. Yet, there is still a certain amount of affection to be bestowed on the band, I just cannot turn my back on their bittersweet indie underdog ways. But all in all, I suppose if the band's debut was packed with so many prominent pop punches, it's all a lot to live up to, let alone outdo.