Summery, joyous, up-beat. All words that could describe Alphabet Backwards’ debut album, Little Victories. There are no deep, heavy meanings behind the lyrics on this album, just great sounding music that makes you want to smile rather than take a one way visit to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which, to be honest, can happen a lot in music nowadays. The lack of good news in newspapers makes me want to hear something happy. And here it is, in the form of catchy combinations of guitar and drums that you can’t help tap a foot to.
There’s nothing difficult to get your head around on this album, it doesn’t cover post-death mysteries or the meaning of life, this is one of its best qualities, but sometimes I like there to be some alternative meaning to lyrics, rather than “you look good in that dress”, which is indeed included in ‘Screenplays’. However, the thing that is great about this album is that it has the right balance of easy, laid-back love songs, mixed with songs that explore mysteries other than that of love – indeed, ‘Screenplays’ discusses horoscopes, chance and chains of events, whilst still maintaining the catchy, happy sound that can be expected from the whole album.
I think the best, and most catchy parts of this album are more often than not the brilliant synth parts, delightfully buzzy, that form a large part of this pop band’s debut album. ‘Pockets’ has the best example of these parts – the kind of noise that demonstrates the phrase “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” quite nicely. ‘Taller’ starts with a nice guitar part, coupled with a foot–tapping bass drum. Upon closer listening, it becomes clear this is one of the sadder songs of the album (despite being hidden behind a deceiving mask of major chords and a catchy guitar riff) describing the feeling of being too scared to stand up to your ex’s new love interest, who is both your friend, and bigger than you.
‘Maisonette’ is brilliant. It reminds one of the music played between acts in some talent show somewhere while the set onstage is changed. It leads perfectly into the best track on the album, ‘Elton John’. It has an excellent synth part which you will not be able to get out of your head for days, or your money back. And right at the end, a great little synth – bass duet that finishes the song, and indeed the album, up nicely.
In honesty, there’s not a lot I can say negatively about Little Victories – it’s the best album I’ve heard in a long time. It’s that of a band who have found the sound they want, and are happy with how they are. It’s an album for when you don’t want to listen to lyrics that tackle the heavy, meaty topics that a lot of bands write. It’s for those days where it’s raining buckets and everyone’s angry because their phones have all been hacked – like I said, there’s never any good news – and you want something happy. I love this album. I’m sure you will too. It’s just too happy not to like. Little Victories is an understatement for this cracking debut from this brilliant Oxford band.
Released on 1st October 2012 by Highline Records