Jerking From Pillar To Post
O Fracas may hail from Leeds but their connection and similarities to other more well known Leeds acts ends at their place of origin. For starters this particular three piece have gone out of their way to be different right down to their choice of name. Desperate not to be lumped in with so called ‘the’ bands, the Leeds lads decided to add a quirky ‘O’ to their name to help them stick out. Job done then, it certainly does the trick, although its classical suggestion may turn listeners away quicker than it gains them. To stand out even more though O Fracas have shied away from the current Leeds jerky indie pop scene that’s infectiousness arouses terrace like chants from every venue and have instead headed down the route of obscure. Waving a flag folkish quality from every beat like an England supporter’s flag should have been doing that this time of year, O Fracas still manage to throw in some jerky bounce to the mix but some how it just doesn’t gel.
Having taken three years to write and record, ‘Fits And Starts’ truly lives up to its name. After problems with bass players seemingly using the music world’s revolving door, O Fracas eventually found their guy only to decide that three years work had to be used and put it out as their debut album. In theory this seems sensible but ultimately it has made an album that constantly flits about, just when you think things are going well a new path is taken, a new beat found and you seem to be more shuddered than thrown from pillar to post.
Album opener ‘Brouhaha’ swings things into action with off kilter beats and alt indie riffs to suggest great things as its refreshing originality washes over you but as ‘Factfinding’ starts you realise quickly that ‘Fits And Starts’ is a very abrasive mix that never really comes together as one. ‘Thousand Times’ adds a true indie feeling to the album as a DIY vocal arrangement and gentle piano whirl by but it is the more whimsical ‘You Can See The World From Menwith Hill’ that offers a sensitive twist to proceedings. Fittingly things are soon thrown up in the air once again, this time for the better as ‘What Jim Hears’ jabs and stabs with spiky chants and pokey guitars that only makes you more frustrated about how good O Fracas can be if only they’d released an album with some form of coherency.
‘Fits And Starts’ at times shows so much promise, a new sound for the youth to embrace that doesn’t rely on the now stereotypical Leeds sound but sadly things just don’t come together for the trio. Perhaps due to decision of using the three years of disjointed work, ‘Fits And Starts’ jerks you about more then the bands actual music does and whilst gems like ‘And To A Scratch’ sparkle their alt indie stance will hold only enthusiasts of this genre.