Back in the 1980s when the world was young, John Peel would frequently play music that was a cavalcade of noise: discordant, declamatory, ear stabbing, tautly rhythmic and often uncomfortable. Eventually, NME issued a cassette called C86, at least half of which was made up of music like this but for some strange reason became synonymous evermore with whiny and wan anorak-pop. That was unfair on bands like The Mackenzies, Shrub, Big Flame and Bogshed. But you can’t keep a fierce sound down and now Sarandon are making music that gets certain people misty-eyed at the thought of a new Wolfhounds. It helps that Crayola, one of the troika at the heart of Sarandon, knows his shronk-pop history and is out to restore the spikiness and anger that ‘C86’ once possessed, beginning with track 1, side 1. ‘Kill Twee Pop!’ slaps down the presumptions and pretentions of the polka dotters and bowlcutters by sending up the whole ‘so uncool we’re cool’ crowd.
There follows another 11 quick songs with abrupt endings, only one of which dares to break the three minute mark. My favourites are ‘The Discotheque is My Lover’, a colourful riot of scratchy pop with shades of the Fire Engines, and the tender but twisted ‘Joe’s Record’ but what all these songs have are edgy, stabbing, stop-start post-punk rhythms that distort the idea of pop about 180 degrees. There’s much wit too, with the band smart-mouthing everything from happy slapping gang cultures (‘Good Working Practice’) to internet relationships (‘Mike’s Dollar’) and the foolish sport of drunk dialling (‘Welcome’). Both for restoring the reputation of a certain strand of 80s indiepop and in making refreshingly askew new music with a wicked sense of humour, Sarandon ought to be applauded.