Various Artists - Continental Drift

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2016-08-26

Last month, Sean Price announced in the Indietracks festival program that Fortuna Pop!, the groundbreaking imprint he started 20 years ago is closing shed. The home of some of the finest records in my collection from artists like Allo Darlin’, Comet Gain, The Primitives, Ladybug Transistor, Tender Trap, September Girls, and dozens more may slowly fade into the sunset, but not before they deliver this split EP (with like-minded US pop label Slumberland). Representing the Pop-pers are two of their current faves, The Spook School (hailed as “one of the greatest art collectives to ever come out of Scotland”) and jangly, power-punkers, Tigercats.

The Spook School’s quirky ‘Sometimes I Hide From Everyone’ sounds like Jonathan Richman fronting an entire country of backing singers, glee-club style. Punky, energetic, pogo-rific! Bassist Anna Cory steps up to the mic on ‘Gone Home’, making this jangly charmer invite eager comparisons to another School (of the Welsh variety) with, perhaps, a Helen Love chaser. Marvelous!

Tigercats are mellower, but just as bubbly, as evidenced by the continental flair (with just a soupcon of reggae backbeat) of ‘Sidney St’. I think I detect a Wonder Stuff influence at play, never a bad thing.

The once and future home of such indie darlings as Lilys, Stereolab, Velocity Girl, Boyracer, The Softies, Hood, Veronica Falls, and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Slumberland has issued several of Fortuna Pop!’s catalogue items in America, so their artist’s contributions mine a similar vein. Lauren Shusterich’s breathy whispering imbues Wildhoney’s ‘Horror Movie’ with angelic, ethereal vibes that should melt anyone who’s hiding more than a few Elefant or Sarah albums under the bed, while ‘T L (Reprisal)’ ups the eerie, ghostly ante, soaring into Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance territory. This one’ll make you think, ponder, and contemplate – a nice sorbet from the preceding happy foot request party.

Which is helpful, for the Mercury Girls are up next with the hop, skip, and jumpy power pop of ‘Holly’ and ‘Beverly’, all chiming guitars, giggly, coo-coo-cachoo girly vocals, and more happy smiles than a rummage sale at a smiley face factory.

Viva Fortuna Pop! And best wishes to Mr. Price. Thanks for all the fantastic smiles and music and hopefully another opportunity will present itself soon. We need music lovers like you running labels. Which leads us to toss the gauntlet down at Slumberland’s feet, encouraging you to keep the power pop fires burning.

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