National Pastime Goldsworthy Gurney/All The TimesPastime Records
Article written by
Kev W - Apr 26, 2014
This latest release from Exeter indipoppers National Pastime might be trying to trick us into thinking it's a double A-side single, but really it's a four-track EP that follows hot on the heels of recent album 'All Our Yesterdays' while containing totally new material. As is usual, this collection is firmly rooted in the retro guitar-pop sounds of labels like Postcard, Sarah and early Creation Records; the band have never tried to hide the influence of the groups they love, and as well as being musically nostalgic, lyrically they often look to their personal pasts (whether real or fabricated is for them to know) for inspiration. In that respect, it's perhaps 'All The Times' that sums up National Pastime the best. The jangly sound, the poppy melodies, the maudlin keyboard and strings that add a reflective sadness to the song, and then lines about looking back over past experiences and lost love. The orchestral feel brings a certain majesty too.
'Goldsworthy Gurney' is made of (slightly) sterner stuff, perhaps more fitting for a song about the forgotten Cornish inventor who has been almost written out of history despite hugely important inventions which led to the development of steam-powered vehicles and electric light. Not your regular subject matter, that's for sure, but this is to their credit and once again it could be lifted from a 7” from 30 years ago. With perhaps even more vigour is 'Careless Talk'. The clattering beat and grittier guitars are offset nicely by the soft vocals, and the lead guitar and use of keyboard in the chorus adds a similar stateliness to that found on 'All The Times'. Given their release schedule over the past year (an album and three EPs), it's all the more impressive that nothing is here just to make up the numbers. 'No Guarantee' doesn't break the mould musically, and neither does it do so in quality. This could be National Pastime in a nutshell: always borrowing, but always doing so with a certain style and charm.