22.214.171.124.0 genuinely makes you believe that maybe these really could be the best days yet.
There's the title – a reference to the Mayan calendar – and the fact from the next album they'll be officially known as TTNG, but this also marks the band's first release as a trio and, moreover, without frontman Stuart Smith. Assuming vocal and bass duties is Henry Tremain, of obscure Norwich band Pennines. No small task; Smith's distinct voice was as much a defining factor in the band's sound as the tweedle-dum-tweedle-dee guitar work of Tim Collis. But Tremain pulls it off, showing in opener, Cat Fantastic, and everything thereafter, that he can do everything Smith can do; some things, better.
Collis remains as influenced by everything a Kinsella brother has ever done as ever and, as a result of his maturation as a player, the songs cover more exploratory, jivey compositional ground than before, no longer as pop-dappled or straightforward as they once were. Rewardingly, more focus has been placed upon bass lines, and Tremain expertly provides everything from angular bottom-end grit (I'll Take The Minute Snake) to funky, imaginative, rolling melodies (Left Aligned, +3 Awesomeness Repels Water). There is some filler (such as the excellently titled Nice Riff, Clichard), but even so, 126.96.36.199.0 genuinely makes you believe that maybe these really could be the best days yet.
Album Of The Week goes to Jamie xx's In Colour, Ben Lee has a new release and SOAK releases her debut in This Week's Releases.