Twelve months ago Standard Fare, a trio based in Sheffield released a debut album on Melodic Records / Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation. For whatever reason this release went under my radar and only recently was I alerted to the group by a friend who had bought the album on the strength of seeing them play live at the 2010 London PopFest event; and also by hearing their latest single, ‘Suitcase’.
On hearing their excellent new single I made a point of seeing them support Shrag at The Lexington in London on 4th March. Both Shrag and Standard Fare put on a great show that night but where I was familiar with the songs of Shrag’s two albums, it is a testament to the strength of their songs, one in particular, that I had Standard Fare stuck in my head on the train home and the following day!
The song in question is ‘Philadelphia’, which is on the debut album, ’The Noyelle Beat’, and was previously available as a 7” only release.
“Global warming is getting me down. It’s making the sea in between us wider and deeper. Now I’m not Moses and I don’t know how to split up the ocean and drive right on over. I’m gonna have to wait a year to see you again in Philadelphia.”
Standard Fare make great pop songs that mainly revolve around falling in and out of love. The album is well produced but not spoilt by overproduction or studio over dubs, leaving the quality of the songs to shine, sounding vibrant and clean. Treble-thirsty jangling guitars, rock steady beats courtesy of Andy Beswick, throbbing bass lines and an exquisite & unique singing style from Emma Kupa. Emma takes lead vocal on the majority of songs but her voice works equally well when duetting with guitarist Danny How on tracks like ‘Nuit Avec Une Amie’ and ‘Secret Little Sweetheart’.
Standard Fare’s music and Emma Kupa’s voice are infectious and draw me in with instant approval. It’s a sign of a good song when you can’t get the tune out of your head and end up quietly singing or humming away uncontrollably. Yes I know, it’s my age!
I can’t quite put my finger on why Emma’s vocal delivery at times reminds me of Morrissey (especially on tracks like ‘Love Doesn’t Just Stop’ & ‘Fifteen’) maybe it’s the stretching of words to meet the tune or the way she holds the note. It’s a style that also reminds me of the lesser known David Read of Medway band The Claim. Not bad company to keep.
Above all else, Standard Fare make raw, happy sounding indie pop music and ‘The Novelle Beat’ is a great debut album. Along with the aforementioned ‘Philadelphia’ my favourite songs on the album are the up-tempo tracks ‘Love Doesn’t Just Stop’, ‘Fifteen’; and then there’s the live favourite ‘Dancing’.
‘The Novelle Beat’ is another example of an album that would have featured in my ‘best albums of 2010’ if only I had heard it before I published a list of titles at the end of last year. So it only leaves me to say, along with Theatre Royal’s ‘From Rubble Rises’, it is my favourite debut album of 2010.
The current single, ‘Suitcase’ proves there is more great indie pop music to come from Standard Fare. And after missing them at the Latitude Festival last summer, I’m now wishing they are going to play again this year.
Standard Fare – The Noyelle Beat Track listing:
1. Love Doesn’t Just Stop
2. Nuit Avec Une Ami
4. Wrong Kind Of Trouble
6. Let’s Get Back Together
7. Secret Little Sweetheart
8. I Know its Hard
10. Edges & Corners
12. Be Into Us
‘The Noyelle Beat’ by Standard Fare is available through Melodic Records / Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation.