Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Patron Saints Of Lost Causes Review

The Patron Saints Of Lost Causes EP
Buen Chico
Philophobia Music

Like a Bueno (the Kinder-made, similar sounding chocolate bar), Buen Chico have a soft, smooth interior with a nutty undercurrent. Unlike a Bueno, however, Buen Chico are not one of my favourite chocolate bars, but that doesn’t take anything away from their musical prowess. Buenos can’t write pop songs anywhere near as good as Buen Chico’s. One day, when I’ve finally finished writing my memoirs, I might write a thesis on Bueno’s seminal third album of traditional English folk ballads, but for now I’ll refrain from sliding off into mad tangents and review an EP far superior to anything released by a confectionary chocolate bar: Buen Chico’s The Patron Saints of Lost Causes.

Buen Chico have always occupied a nice place for me. Back when I was a promoter of sorts they played one of my early forays into organising stuff. While they have tweaked their sound, sometimes subtly and sometimes obviously, they are still essentially an amiable pop group that have stumbled into a guitar shop and began thrashing through Pixies numbers like they only have their instruments hired out for twenty minutes before the mean shopkeeper takes them back.

During live shows I remember the guitar head always bounced like it was headbanging at a Black Sabbath gig – the instrument thrashed around in a recklessly controlled manner. To me, at least, they always sounded like Belle and Sebastian during an anxiety attack.

Nowadays guitarist and songwriter Morgan Tatchell-Evans twinkles the electronic ivories and Wot Gorilla? man Matthew Haigh has stepped in on strings duty. Elsewhere remain Kirsty Doan (bass) and Alan Kenworth (drums).

The result, as you would expect with an extra member, is a bigger and fuller sound. There is also a more varied array of reference points to be plucked from songs sitting in different mindscapes. There are the usual rudimentary thrash-alongs (The Golden Ones) done in their standard, likeable way, but there are also noises I haven’t associated with Buen Chico before. There is a murkier, almost Velvet Underground-esc, sound to some songs, as if their youthful exuberance has been tamed by the ways of the world, and considering the lyrical content – such as laments upon the shackles of work-life – then this may well be the case. The input of keyboards too, provides further eclecticism.

The stand-out track is This Is Just A Thing That I'm Doing, with its wry words, wiry guitar and well-crafted vocal parts it is a perfect example of what Buen Chico do best, and I would be suspicious of anyone who acted with revulsion upon hearing it, as well as anything else on this EP.

A fine effort indeed.

Your move, Bueno.

Stephen Vigors

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