Original c86 compilation-era cogs The Popguns came back splendidly with this year’s serenely scrumptious ‘Pop Fiction’—an album so good, it greatly eclipsed their four finely-rendered albums of yesteryear. Now the Brighton, U.K. stalwarts (four of five originals returned) pluck one of that LP’s highlights—a buoyant update on where they left off with 1989’s “Waiting For the Winter”—for an EP featuring three lighter-fare, folky non-LP b-sides. Frankly, anything that greater emphasizes the beautiful swan-like singing of silky Wendy Morgan is already all to the good. But this tender acoustic picking has a Smiths-like radiance-and-elegance-with-melancholy to it, too, a la “Back to the Old House,” on “BN3,” “Diane’s Song” and “Why You Fell in Love With Me.” As stopgaps go, this elicits enchantment; may there be much, much more.
--The Big Takeover
A vaguely apt EP title here as it's currently winter here in Brisbane which means it's cold for about 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night before you go to bed and everyone is complaining of winter flu while it's about 25 degrees all day. I've waffled on a fair bit about The Popguns on previous reviews as I saw them for the first time at one of the very first handful of gigs I ever went to back in the early 90s supporting the Cardiacs. I also mentioned how I first heard them, where I first saw them and all that good stuff. The lead track here is one of the strongest songs on their "Pop Fiction" album - it's a clean and jangly indie pop tune full of their trademark nostalgic imagery. There are then three lighter, near enough acoustic songs which have a pretty clean sound and nicely nostalgic lyrics again. Brighton and Hove are the settings in the main for the lyrics on these tracks. One of the changes since the band's early days is the addition of Kate Mander whose vocals add harmonies to Wendy's lead vocals. Kate also takes the lead on "Why You Fell In Love With Me". If you're a fan of their lighter, melancholy side you won't be disappointed here. I hear there will be more of their power poppy stuff to come soon enough too so keep an eye out for that. --Collective Zine
Even though it was nearly 20 years between the last two releases, and even though 'Pop Fiction' was like manna from heaven, and even though I'm sure we are all still giving that album regular spins, we pop fans are fickle, even when it comes to Pickles, and six months on seems just about the right time to start asking ourselves, "I wonder what the Popguns have up their sleeves next?" Well, it sounds like they will be recording a new album soon, and that's reason enough to rejoice. In the meantime, though, our thirst is about to be satiated with new songs that put Wendy's wonderful voice front and center. The "Still Waiting For The Winter EP" features one of the most amazing moments from 'Pop Fiction,' but it's the three songs exclusive to this release that will have us all eager to order. "BN3," "Why You Fell In Love With Me" and "Diane's Song" are all stripped-down affairs chock full of warmth and melancholy. The beautiful "BN3" tells the story of a "sporting romance played out at Hove County Cricket Ground." --Linear Tracking Lives
When The Popguns returned last year they did so in some style, with new album 'Pop Fiction' being both instantly engaging and also the sleeper hit of the year. Contained therein was some classic powerpop, and with the news that they're currently working on a new album we can hope for more of the same, but they prove here that they have more than one trick. One of the less punchy but no less delightful songs - in fact it became something of a highlight - was the track 'Still Waiting For The Winter', released here as the lead to an EP featuring a trio of new recordings. This set showcases a different side to the band, with the relatively mellow title-track being the closest we get to the aforementioned powerpop sound. 'BN3' might sound like a British postcode, and it most probably is, as the song is a gorgeous waltz-time love story that takes place at Hove County Cricket Ground - you don't get that with many other bands. Another wistful love song with a wintry feel is 'Why You Fell In Love With Me' which shows just how good The Popguns actually are are writing; it's not all about punchy guitar lines and driving beats. This is as snuggly and warm as a cup of hot soup in front of the fire in January. Lastly, 'Diane's Song' is simply timeless, and could have been written at any point during the past 60 years. Altogether, this is another side to a band who may not be as easy to pigeonhole as some people might have thought. If they're waiting for winter then they have a while to go, but with any luck it'll bring a new album with it. --The Sound of Confusion
Welcome back to in love with these times, in spite of these times, the indie-pop fanzine that’s owned by the system and controlled by Babylon. The reasons are legion, I suspect, why we never came to be as accepted as we’d once hoped within the international brotherhood and sisterhood of indie-pop blogs. There are the known reliability and punctuality issues, although our high-tech phalanx of robot engineers are working tirelessly behind the scenes to try and fix these. And there is the alleged tendency to start reviews, when they do eventually emerge, by wandering off at an inconsequential tangent, when any readers who might be left after 16 years of this are probably hoping their perseverance be rewarded by at least an attempt to describe the record in the blog post title, instead of having to scroll through a roundabout, laboured and in all likelihood irrelevant point by way of “introduction”. Anecdotally, we understand that the digressions about digressions are the most enervating of all. But maybe there’s a more fundamental tenet of indie-pop philosophy on which we fall short; a deeper reason why we find ourselves locked out of the love-in. And it strikes us, as we narrowly dodge a lorry whilst sprinting across the A1 just to secrete ourselves on the shady side of the street, that perhaps it’s this: the fact that we’ve never, truth be told, been particularly fond of the summer, that super sunny summer season of sunny sundae smiles that all our favourite indiepop tunes are apparently meant to endlessly soundtrack. Here at our indefatigably miserabilist capital city HQ, we’ll take sodden autumn or glistening snowscape over T-shirt weather and ‘son of Intertoto’ nonsense every day, and the fourth Undertones single is probably the one we love the least (I know, new heresies daily. It could be the “Please Rain Fall” vs. "Solace" controversy all over again). Don’t get us wrong, summer is peachy – well, apart from the hay fever, the sunburn, the sweating, the traffic fumes hanging in the air, the hothouse of the Underground, and that curse of "British people in hot weather" (© M.E. Smith) as pavements froth with blotchy red-faced blokes who can't hold their ale and the parks teem with loudly yapping fairweathers in their hipster finery, oh, and “midges hover in the heather" (er, M.E.S. again) - it’s just that sometimes, just to escape the scene’s fetishisation of the sporadic heatwaves of midsummer, we’d rather be reminded of where our natural affinities lie, of the incomparable beauty of those months of shorter days and longer nights: how a coating of snow makes the evening bright, the roads aflame as the lamplights reflect the white. Or something. Thus we spend July and August waiting for the winter… hoping for the rain… that sort of thing (yes, we’re getting there at last. It’s a bit like listening to Thought for the Day, isn’t it, when you have to wait patiently for the “bridge” at which they segue the topic they started with into the actual bit about God). So where we find *our* heaven at this time of year is in a summer single with a distinctly hivernal flavour. *Especially* when it comes from a First Division outfit like Brighton’s own Popguns, following their formidable assault on anno domini 2014 via the dual media of live entertainment and recorded sound. The title tune of this EP, plucked from their comeback - and for what it’s worth, their best - long-player, “Pop Fiction”, is of course a sequel of sorts to their second single, the blistering “Waiting For The Winter” (which would become 1/9th of “Eugenie”, one of those compact discs which was never in its case because it basically lived in our CD player back then). When a band, all grown-up, knowingly references its back catalogue (rather than just endlessly recycling it) the results can be very affecting: think of the Mary Chain’s delicate and touching “Never Understood”, for example. It can also produce surprisingly powerful results when the band play the two songs in quick succession, as the Popguns did at the Borderline last year. ”Still Waiting” positively revels in the chance to prove that it’s a humdinger of a single in its own right: it lightly deploys some of the chord sequences and lyrics from the original 45, but feels more measured and reflective, with a narrative that from the start - as Wendy paints a picture of a wedding disco ringing in the distance - juxtaposes the aspiration of youth and the wisdom of experience, before finally combining the two in a dual-vocal final flourish. If you then go back and listen to the original (1989!) single again, it strikes you how frantic that is by comparison, despite all the hooks and melodies: a whipped-up storm of guitars underpinning passionate lyrics about changing, becoming bitter, angrier and more confused. You really feel you need a sit down. Handily, then, the rest of the new EP is mellow and more downtempo, but despite its calming wiles the songwriting and settings make it as dramatic – and as pretty! – as the impressive suite of songs that made up the album. “BN3” (Hove, Actually) rings with the fresh, lilting guitar chimes of those Morrissey/Marr ballads, via the unlikely first-verse setting of a cricket ground, before giving way to Kate’s superb “Why You Fell In Love With Me”, a knowing meditation on love and loss that sets the seafront-sur-Cuckmere against the Mississippi, and that we can half-imagine the great Crystal Gayle turning her tonsils to. The fourth and final treat, “Diane’s Song”, fits swimmingly with the wintry timbre of the whole record, as Wendy sings movingly of break-up and death (both can be brutal, but the memories are worth treasuring, even at the cost of teardrops dripped on the back seat of a taxi). The arrangement is stark and absolutely compelling. And then, with the sun sinking back down behind the cityscape for the very last time, Diane’s lament softly concludes: “alone in the dark, synapses spark / dreams of the melodies / that flow to my heart”. Then silence. All this makes “Still Waiting For The Winter” an extended play that provides a sparkling oasis of respite from the industrial doses of techno, grime, and Napalm Death that have otherwise been bossing the turntable here. And in doing so it amply makes its point. Records like this are why – however disengaged or disentangled we get from our indie-pop roots at times – we know we’ll always find ourselves hankering for more. Whatever the weather. --In Love With These Times...
The Popguns follow up 'Lovejunky' with another self-referential single and one which remains the stand-out track on their recent ‘Pop Fiction’ album. 'Still Waiting For The Winter' paints a perfect picture of a thousand Brighton nights with its brilliantly evocative lyrics that open, "Friday night outside The Grand, a wedding disco band plays 'Boogie Wonderland'" It's top work in a song that is at heart relentlessly bleak but also utterly captivating in true Popguns' fashion. As the backing vocals burst into the chorus of 1990's 'Waiting For The Winter' it is clear the band may have got older but they have not moved on, as rooted in their environment as they are in their emotional instability: always in Brighton and always in tears as the rest of the world passes them by. Nobody does the lament of the disconected quite like The Popguns and it really is great to have them back. Three new acoustic tracks make up the numbers on this EP so it is great value as well. --Isolation
Last year The Popguns made a triumphant return to the scene with Pop Fiction, which was one of my top 30 albums of the year. They are too kind to allow us to get through the summer without another edition of their wonderful guitar pop, and it arrives this week via Matinee Recordings. The Still Waiting for the Winter EP combines the title track, which was one of the top songs on Pop Fiction, with three fresh offerings. "Still Waiting for the Winter" is a classic Popguns tune. The jangling guitars and dual female vocals tell a story of nights out in Brighton and reconciling the conflicting tugs of the past and present. The following "BN3" is an acoustic romance tale. "Why You Fell In Love With Me" is my favorite of the new songs, featuring an upbeat arrangement and lovely harmonies. The wistful "Diane's Song" closes the EP with a perfectly crafted echo of '60s pop. You'll love these tracks under the stars on the deck while the sun goes down, and long after the last sip of wine. --When You Motor Away
Last year the Popguns returned via Matinée Recordings, making a big splash with throngs of indiepop masses. But, it looks like once that songwriting bug hit the band, they couldn’t stop, already prepping the release of a new EP. The opening track, “Still Waiting for the Winter” should already have piqued your interest, having appeared on the aforementioned album, Pop Fiction. But, there will also be three exclusive new tracks to reassure your fandom. I’ve posted one of those new tracks below, and it’s perfect…no need for more words other than that. Look for the 'Still Waiting for the Winter' EP this July.
--Austin Town Hall
Sono tornati per restare The Popguns, per riprendere seriamente il percorso interrotto quasi vent’anni fa e ripreso, sul finire del 2014, con l’album “Pop Fiction”. Quel lavoro sembra infatti destinato ad aprire un nuovo capitolo nell’attività della band di Brighton, evidentemente non circoscritto a un ritorno estemporaneo tra i tanti che, soprattutto negli ultimi tempi, si susseguono in particolare tra i protagonisti del guitar-pop britannico tra anni Ottanta e Novanta. Il nuovo Ep della band inglese sviluppa il lato più malinconico del disco dello scorso anno, scegliendo quale brano portante uno tra i pochi dai contorni lenti e riflessivi di quel lavoro, “Still Waiting For The Winter”, nel quale l’impatto a tratti quasi abrasivo di chitarre e ritmiche lasciava spazio ai languori agrodolci così endemicamente connaturati a un genuino spirito indie-pop, quand’anche ormai distante parecchi lustri dall’adolescenza. Sulla scia della title track, l’Ep racchiude altri tre brani inediti, coerenti per atmosfere sognanti e per sonorità sfumate, elementi che insieme costituiscono in maniera significativa a far trasparire il genuino spirito pop della band e le interpretazioni di Wendy Pickles e di Kate Mander. Si tratta di tre brani intrisi di un lirismo dolcemente nostalgico, sognante e leggiadro in “BN3”, definito da linee armoniche acustiche dalle sensazioni uggiose in “Why You Fell In Love With Me” e rifinito da un arrangiamento e da cori dall’elegante gusto retrò nella conclusiva “Diane’s Song”. Ancor più che nell’enfasi elettrica del recente album, nella placida malinconia delle ricercate atmosfere dell’Ep “Still Waiting For The Winter” si manifesta la classe della band inglese e la ritrovata naturalezza nella scrittura di cristalline canzoni pop.
--Music Won't Save You
Tandis que The Popguns s'activent d'ores et déjà sur le successeur de "Pop Fiction", leur excellent album du retour publié à la fin de l'année dernière, les Anglais ont la bonne idée de faire patienter leurs fans avec un nouvel EP, édité en tirage limité par Matinée Recordings. Nous connaissions déjà l'impeccable "Still Waiting for the Winter", mais les trois morceaux qui l'accompagnent (dans une veine plutôt mélancolique et contemplative) sont eux de véritables inédits. Sortie le 31 juillet en CD et digital, précommande ICI.
Tre brani nuovi per The Popguns, che in un certo senso vanno a completare il già delizioso album uscito l'anno scorso. La canzone che da il titolo all'Ep già la conosciamo e apprezziamo, ci soffermiamo sui tre restanti brani che dispensano emozioni e carezze guitar-pop. BN3 ci riporta in mente gli Echobelly e le loro cose più morbide e avvolgenti, When You Fell In Love With Me è ancora una volta sostenuta da delicati arpeggi ed è brezza leggera per il nostro cuore pop. Chiude il tutto l'acustica di Diane's Song, in cui emerge una lieve base ritmica e un piccolo lavoro di tastiera. Perla da occhi lucidi dal sapore sixties. Altro centro perfetto per The Popguns e la Matinée.