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Math and Physics Club - Movie Ending Romance

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 19 / 8 / 2005

Math and Physics Club - Movie Ending Romance
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CDS


Catchy new EP from American-based C86 group Math and Physics Club,which is, however, marred by its weak vocals

I have listened to a lot of ‘indie-pop’ over the last few years, and almost all of the stuff that I like comes out on Matinee (or its spiritual brother, Fortuna Pop!) The bands almost always sound quaint and old fashioned, and I like that (although the more twee bands are often vomit inducing if you listen to too many tracks in a row). I was well aware that most Matinee bands are big Smiths fans, even before there was a Matinee sponsored Smiths tribute a while back. I also knew that C86 was the genre of choice for these bands. But, having been two years old when NME produced that tape (“loved by some, derided by most” is what I’ve read about it) I don’t really know the music. That begun to change when I heard the Rough Trade Shops Indiepop compilation, and I have to say that it put me off indie-pop. Okay, Felt sounded brilliant, and Beat Happening too. And the Popguns song is addictive. But the rest? Put it this way, now I know why Johnny Marr was so embarrassed to have spawned so many imitators. It was horrible. Math and Physics Club are clearly from the C86 school of worship. I really don’t know if I like them or not. The thing that annoys me is the vocals. Weak vocals are a common enough failing, but the bands on the Rough Trade comp all seemed to be TRYING to sing out of tune (well, to be fair, Bobby Gillespie sounded like he genuinely couldn’t hit a note, but that didn’t make the Scream’s offering 'All Fall Down' any less appalling). This is the case here as well. We have Charles Bert, a guy with a nice voice deliberately singing from the mouth and missing notes, and I can only conclude that he wants to sound like he can’t sing. The fourth track is a cover of The Beach Boys’'You’re So Good To Me', and the band have produced a very good, restrained arrangement that does the song justice, but Bert's vocals are so weedy it becomes unbearable. The original material is better, and is very catchy. The variety of instruments works, and even if the chiming guitar lines owe Johnny Marr a beer, they are still nice. But the vocals are still weak. If it weren’t for this, Math and Physics Club would be a ‘cult’ act to match the wittily melancholic masters, the Lucksmiths. I keep listening to this, hoping that the vocals will grow on me. They haven’t yet…

Track Listing:-
1 Movie Ending Romance
2 White And Grey
3 Graduation Day
4 You're So Good To Me

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Math and Physics Club - Interview
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