Build ups are a good thing in popular music. When deployed correctly they can provide a sense of elation and power, they can sign post to the listener that something is coming, that something is drawing near, that they should brace themselves. Scarlet is a brooding track that grounds itself in reverb-soaked guitars and a snaking riff that sits nicely by the silken and sultry vocals. The track lasts around 5 minutes and for the majority of its running time those elements work pretty well. It’s propulsive and engaging and teases at the beast it’s ready to unleash. Then it breaks down and the listener is treated to a guitar solo so disarmingly shite that it threatens to deconstruct any joy that was to be found in the song prior to it. But the track continues and so does that build up and then it ends. No pay-off, no chorus, no outro. Nothing. After the wonderful (and far scuzzier) Cold Front/ On A Wire double A-side gave so much hope for them, 2:54 appear to have been defeated by the oldest of threats to the young indie band: the alluring sheen of the studio do-over.
By Ned Powley