Various incarnations of the Rocky Nest have made charming lo-fi indie to smile about for many months. They became one of several house bands for Hull’s legendary New Adelphi venue (a terraced house turned underground music club, and one of the most interesting venues in the UK), releasing impressively hand-decorated CD-R singles and gigging with many interesting groups. In 2009 the Nest played elsewhere nationally with greater frequency, including a slot on the chapel stage at Indietracks. En El Autobus collects three EPs analogous to Barcelona, Stockholm, and Hull-with pictorial evidence of the Rocky Nest van at a noted monument in each city.
En El Autobus is a touch more stylistically varied than prior efforts. The production remains crackly, reminiscent of turn of the ’90s efforts by the Orchids and Heavenly. While the likes of Herman Dune and Belle and Sebastian remain central reference points, plenty of otherness crops up to interest here. “Lenny and Jenny” sounds akin to Blur’s “Tracy Jacks” filtered through Dan The Automator, Bernard Hermann and Calexico. It describes the love between an ugly boxer and a doctor “working with grey pride” with commendable humour and a hint of melancholy. “Wake Up (Mr Telephone Man)” is a resolutely propulsive indie-pop song that hints at the Housemartins and Jackie Wilson.
The folk-ridden moments twinkle brightly. Songs like “My Perfumed Garden” and “Needle and Thread” are subtly infectious, recalling Echo and the Bunnymen and Butcher Boy. With (hopefully) a full album coming sooner rather than later, En El Autobus is a shining example of a band successfully marrying the impressive and the understated.
Belle and Sebastian – Dog On Wheels
Heavenly – Heavenly vs. Satan
Herman Dune – They Go to the Woods