It’s little wonder that Huddersfield’s Tropical Contact will be supporting Ginger Wildheart’s Hey! Hello! in a couple of months – this lairy mob sound like Ginger had he been raised on energy drinks and inescapable pop-rock. That is to say, ‘XS’ is a brilliantly subversive slice of poppiness with an infectious, hard edge.
It’s the simplicity in which it’s dished out with that makes ‘XS’, but with the same knowing wink and snarky, turned-up lip as a band like Future Of The Left. ‘This Is Goodnight’ is a disco-rock tune with some thin synths weaved through it, while ‘Warriors’ is just a straight-up rock banger, and ‘The Show Goes On’ gives the typical airy power ballad formula some extra weight.
All of that isn’t even scratching the surface, because ‘XS’ is, after all, a very varied album. It mainly seems to draw from ’90s Britrock and bands like Manic Street Preachers and, of course, The Wildhearts, but painting them with some distinctly disparate influences.
What could very easily have become a near-unlistenable hodge-podge of sounds and overreaching influences, Tropical Contact make their brand of eclecticism very easy to swallow by making each song as catchy as possible, shown on the likes of ‘Emergency’ and ‘When We Were Undertones’.
It’s undoubtedly not an album for everyone – the sheer volume of ideas crammed into this album will put some people off – but for what it is, it’s a surprisingly focused and accessible listen. Tropical Contact may have pretty much come out of nowhere, but it’s definitely worth keeping a close eye on them.
‘XS’ by Tropical Contact is released on 6th February/
Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)