The Lodger – Flashbacks (Slumberland Records)

The Lodger’s third album is an easy sell for fans of 1980s UK indie-rock. If you’re partial to The Smiths, The Jam, Television Personalities and Orange Juice, you’d be hard pressed not to find something on Flashbacks to gush over. It starts with “Back In My Mind”, a classic British guitar-pop single which milks every last bit of excitement it can out of a simple 4/4 beat and layers of droney guitar noise. In fact the band’s ability to make the most out of their limitations is their best asset. Nobody would confuse singer Ben Siddall with Thom Yorke, but his witty lyrics and confident delivery overpower his limited vocal range. The album’s other secret weapon is co-producer Richard Formby (Spacemen 3, Telescopes…etc.) who augments the songs with studio effects that elevate them far above their ramshackle origins. Whether it’s the strings on “The End Of The Affair”, the horns on the Jam-like “Have Faith In People”, or the dreamy backing vocals on the title track, a lot of attention was paid to dressing up each song in the proper bells and whistles, making Flashbacks one of the most compulsively listenable releases of the young year.