Article by KevW
Sometimes it can be frustrating when artists refuse to change their tune, but with Exeter's National Pastime it's actually kind of comforting. Also, you wouldn't really expect a self-proclaimed "retro indie band" with a list of influences that centre around C86 and labels such as Creation and Sarah Records to suddenly discover that they'd always been a crunk group at heart. With a dozen tracks of wistful, jangly indiepop, 'A Brighter Sky' isn't likely to convert those who are yet to fall for National Pastime, but it should keep existing fans happy.
Single 'Bring Me Your Sunshine' finds them on typically reflective form with a sunnier air falling over the chorus which is lit-up by a spidery guitar line, and there's a crisply invigorating strum to 'Lose That Information' and 'Caught Me At A Loose End' too. Looking back a missed opportunities and reliving heartbreak has always been a part of the band's music, and that doesn't change here (see the mournful 'Summer Haze' for a great example), although there's a youthful optimism to the likes of 'Perfect In Every Way' or previous EP track 'Do What You Do' which dabbles in '60s psych.
'Don't Look At Me' brushes past darker post-punk on its way to a spangly chorus, and 'Lose That Information and 'Nobody Knows' are familiarly thoughtful, with the latter containing a trademark bobbing bassline. The looping riff of 'Watch Out' makes it something of a highlight. Closer 'Judge A Book' is comparatively lengthy at just over six minutes, but it does a good job of summing up National Pastime as a whole, both lyrically and musically, proving to be one of the strongest songs here. 'A Brighter Sky' does seem to have the motto "if it ain't broke...", but at the same time you have to admire them for sticking to their guns.
National Pastime's website
Buy: 'A Brighter Sky'
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