There seems to be no shortage of bands seeking to bring back the energy and excitement of previous UK sensations like Orange Juice and The Pastels these days, but those that get it right are few and far between. Enter Hatcham Social, the fun-loving, hook-delivering quartet that doesn't so much relive the glory days as they channel them into a lean 32 minutes of pure pop on their debut, You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil. Following a path well traveled, the boys rely on simple, but effective instrumental riffs and clever, quirky lyricism to make their ten songs stick. Their infectious melodies and strong songwriting make this a record worth your time and attention even among the shower of great albums arriving this year.
What's most enjoyable about You Dig The Tunnel is the no-frills approach the band takes to make tunes like opener "Crocodile" and the delightfully spooky "Murder in the Dark" so entertaining without feeling gimmicky. The rhythm section is sharp throughout while the guitars switch between the back and driver's seats to shake things up a little. The pace stays fairly constant throughout, getting a little more intense on cuts like "I Can't Cure My Pure Evil" and only giving a couple minutes of respite on "Superman." The formula for the album is simple and the results are quite consistent, hitting the spot often enough to make the record a fun experience from start to finish.
Devoid of pretension or arrogance, You Dig The Tunnel, I'll Hide The Soil is a great debut by a band I'll certainly be keeping an ear out for in the future. Check out the band on MySpace to hear some tunes.