Transcargo is a new band from England that sound like a cross between Broadcast and Birdie.
Broadcast are known for their love of library music), electronic pop songs using traditional instruments and organ as well as synth, and the distinctive voice of Trish Keenan. Broadcast even have out a new tour only CD of instrumental library styled music that I really want to hear.
Birdie are the duo Paul Kelly and Debsey Wykes (with others). Pauls' older brother is the father of Sarah Cracknell's (Saint Etienne) baby, and Debsey was one of the backup singers for Saint Etienne. Debsey sang lead of one of Saint Etienne's finest songs Who Do You Think You Are. Debsey has a distinctive voice and Birdie has a great ear for melody, served up in mellow songs with acoustic guitar fronted full band instrumentation. Birdie has been quiet of late, but I am hoping for a new record soon.
Transcargo are not cheap imitations of Broadcast or Birdie. I offer the comparisons only because I hear such strong resemblances between the three bands. Transcargo are the first current band ever signed on Trunk Recordings, a label previously known for releasing reissues of library music. Emily Phillips is the singer (and writes) for Transcargo. Anthony Whiting also sings and plays. Guillaume Jambel is the third member listed on the sleeve, though there are others involved.
- The EP starts off with Oh Boy. It is a catchy pop song run by an acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and electronics, with Emily's voice right up front.
- So Lazy starts off sounding like Birdie with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, accordion and tambourine, with both Emily and Anthony singing together. The chorus sounds like Broadcast, with Emily's voice singing high notes, and prominent use of organ. The song blends new and traditional sounds well.
- Mr. Whippy starts off with a bass and drum driven lazy beat which pulls you right in. It is a two minute instrumental.
- Ice has snappy beats, rapid fire vocals by both Emily and Anthony, and a Birdie styled chorus with muted trumpet.
- You Forgot to Say reminds me of Birdie when everything is just right. The tune has a slow shuffling beat, a great melody, and lyrics which tell a story about people. The tune has a guitar part with bent strings like John Lennon used to play. Near the end there are lazy New Orleans styled horns.
- Yes, Absolutely closes out the EP on another strong note. The song starts off sounding exactly like Broadcast, with female wordless vocals accompanied by organ, electronics that remind me of a distant foghorn, and an electronic harpsichord sounding keyboard. You can hear conversations in the background of the song. The song is basically an instrumental, though it speaks to me as strongly as any of the vocal tracks.
The EP has six songs and a quicktime video of the song Oh Boy. The video is a computer animation story of two retro styled robots. A blue robot is inside a busy electronic metropolis, has a robot dog, and rides around on a Tron styled motorcar, while the silver robot is outside trying to enter access codes to get in. It manages to get in at the end, which causes it to smile. Once it is inside it turns blue and looks a lot like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It is hard to tie the song into the video, though it is fun to look at.
Transcargo are not paving any new paths in the world of music, but have enough songs and style to make me welcome their emergence into the worldwide market, where they deserve to be known.