:(- First Blood

Somewhere between the melodic flair of the Fuelled By Ramen roster, the chirpy appeal of The Postal Service and the background music to your favourite Nintendo game lie online Aberdeen quartet, :(. The band, pronounced Colonopenbracket for the messenger-impaired, began as a one-man thing but, by the power of MySpace, quickly blossomed into the four-piece behind debut disc ‘First Blood’.

If you have heard a :( song before it might have been the upbeat growls of ‘Syntax’ or the gentle buzzing promise of ‘Gone’, both early efforts from frontman Mart, both indicative of a fresh sound full of promise but, neither included here. The addition of a real live drummer and a thicker, louder production means the quaint appeal of those first tracks is long gone but in its place is a big-time-party vibe and a powerful confidence.

Opener ‘Fake Blood’ has all the same 8-bit bleeps as before but now the mix kicks and screams to take your hand instead of politely asking to dance. It’s like Panic! At The Disco with square eyes and joypads instead of all the silly style and circus pomp. The melodic pulse of ‘Codes’ is destined to be sung back to these boys and gals by thousands, ‘Pre-Emoticons’ is electric indie brilliance and yes, this is all about having fun but if the forlorn rise and rise of ‘Heartache…’ doesn’t do something to the hairs on the back of your neck then you might just be dead inside.

Computer noise and retro chic may be all the rage at the minute but you’d be wasting your time looking for this sort of thing done better elsewhere. Bleeptastic.

Also appears at New-Noise.

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