Expectations: quashed. Norms: avoided. Head: scratched. Not Squares use cowbells, ‘dirty synths’, tight double-speed drums and disco basslines, and yet the band is not instantly hateful and their songs are not the kind of generic ADHT nonsense found on mobile phone adverts. So what gives?
Call me a naive, old cynic, but what drives me up the wall is when a two-bit band scrabble aboard the most fleeting of bandwagons, whelp out a truly woeful, turgid two-bit song and make a success of themselves, all because they were bright/stupid enough to harmonise with the two-bit musical flavour du jour.
In truth, and to fully labour a metaphor, this doesn’t just drive me up the wall, but over it, down the other side and power-slides me all the way to Madsville.
So Not Squares leave me at a puzzling mental impasse: any other band making music like this would make me howl with rage, but I just can’t be angry – they’re having too much innocent fun in the frantic buzz-saw fluctuations that make up Asylum.
For all I know, Not Squares could be identikit Nathan Barleys, and Asylum might have been mashed-up on their Wasp Speechtools, but I don’t think so. Youth, breezy youth, all crammed into one gleeful song – and all this delicious naivety is there to offer hope for us all.