Album Review: Tropical Contact – “XS”
A mainstay of the independent UK music scene over the past year or so (a quick perusal of this very website should tell you a bit about how well regarded they are), Tropical Contact have come storming out of the gates with their pledge funded debut album XS, and it’s pretty special.
From the opening notes XS is exactly what you’d expect from the Huddersfield based outfit. Big riffs, melodic but unique vocals, and various tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The opening salvo (well after the ‘intro’) of Clickbait, Hero Brigade, and Warriors sets out the band’s stall nicely. Big on energy, big on fun, but never at the cost of the quality of the music.
As the album goes on, there is a bit more variety, eschewing some of the riff heavy sound for more eighties inspired pop-style tracks like This Is Goodnight and Emergency, while there is more than a hint of big arena crowd-pleasing potential with the likes of Chemistry, and even something resembling a ballad with The Show Must Go On. There’s even a track which evokes a 70s cop show-vibe in the form of Nightcrime which, let’s face it, is pretty phenomenal. Yet throughout all of these versatile styles in their arsenal, they always sound like Tropical Contact, such is the unique nature of this band’s sound, and I’m really excited to see how these songs translate to a live environment.
They have also managed to fit in big sing-a-long sections to a few tracks (Clickbait and Hero Brigade especially), which gives them a much bigger, bolder, ballsier sound than ever before. It’s a step forward in maturity for the evolution of Tropical Contact, although they still retain the humour that makes them such a fun band to watch – just check out the album artwork if you need further confirmation of that.
I normally try and sign these reviews off with a summary, but I’ll just cut to the chase. Buy this album, you won’t regret it, it’s fantastic from start to finish, and is already a very strong contender for my album of the year. I’m not sure what XS actually stands for in this instance, but for me it should be ‘Xtra Splendid’.