Overdue Review: Sarandon – Sarandon’s Age of Reason

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The spirit of C86 is alive and well and inhabiting London’s Sarandon. Sarandon itself has been a band since 2003, but has been quiet on the album front. This is their second or third, depending on whether you count 2006’s culmination of their singles to date, The Completist’s Library. Members have come and gone, but the constant remains Simon Williams, a.k.a. Crayola, whose resume is rather intimidating.

The album has the thread running through it of its narrator, Big Trev, observing in a haphazard, meandering (which is not to say entirely unfocussed) fashion, often shot through with a splendid bitterness, everything from irritation at people thoughtlessly calling him whilst he is eating, feelings of bewilderment and disgust at the discotheque, the dent he expects to make in the world, as well as – once the overpriced booze seems to kick in – love and happiness and the things that really matter in his life.

While these passages are soundtracked by a hideous looping effected accordion dirge, each is punctuated by instances of exquisitely angular pop-punk that expand upon the themes of the spoken word segments (it is splendidly difficult – if not impossible – to tell if the ramblings are constructed around the songs or vice-versa). In a little over half an hour you are taken on a journey with a character it is easy to feel comfortable with and to cheer for with a band that know how to, in Big Trev’s words, “[hit] the nail firmly and squarely on the head.”

This is garage pop-punk at its brightest, the concept helping to hold everything together so not one track, even the 5-minute Mustn’t Grumble, outstays its welcome or feels like filler (the lack of filler is evidenced by the album’s brevity). Its sound has all the hallmarks of authentic punk, and you can rock out to it if you so desire, but there is precision and control at work in its composition. The guitar, bass and drums are capable of working together to create surging waves of noise, but more is built on melodic riffs than heavily distorted power chords. There is much to be heard here, and each of my visits has been as fun as the last.

This aside, you know you have a winner on your hands when an album is released with its own IPA.

Stream a couple of songs below. Piglet, the title track from their latest EP, may also be downloaded.

Sarandon – Big Trev by Odd Box Records

Sarandon – Piglet by Slumberland Records

Buy it on CD or vinyl from Odd Box Records or Slumberland Records, where digital download links are also available.

Sarandon: Official website