nominee number eight.

sportique "communique no. 9" (matinee)

art-rock is not confined to the likes of franz ferdinand. rather than following a josef k template through the lineage of other superior bands (to ff) like bogshed and co, sportique seem to be tiptoeing through the tulips in league with alternative tv and the fall, and this is simply a great, well rounded, interesting album. again, this is what reckoned:

" those of us who still attempt to stick up for the old wave of new wave even in its more primitive forms, this revisiting of art-rock roots is an instant classic... the vision of the communiqué is clear: from "don't give up, get angry" on the title track to "the DJ's playing things so wilfully obscure... a cosy little scene / and i'm bored" on "requiem for the avant garde", and replete with phil ochs quoted on the inner sleeve on the process of struggle, there is a feeling that the boat needs to be rocked. as to the communiqué's drafting, inspired strokes of the pen include "the edgeware kick-back"... and "other people's girlfriends"... both prime punk cuts more blistering than the london marathon. and although the ghost of young wire looms large, "arthouse cinemas" (another song that's been part of the live set, and that is spent largely on one chord) sees sportique give us "american indie film blurred" rather than "french film blurred" . meanwhile, "tips for artists who want to sell records" is just that - knowing contempt, outside the mind of mark e. smith anyway, has rarely been done so well. and "stereotype"'s helter-skelter pogoing-pace, authentic, unenfranchised lyrical simplicity ("i won't conform!") and musical infectiousness make it pile into yr heart like x-ray spex covering the specials at 78 rpm - you really could swear that it had been recorded in 1977 by the brightest teenagers on the block, and it should - so should - have been a single. it would have been matinée's first sub-one minute single, but what a record. really. oh yes, and the closer, "requiem for the avant-garde", despite its slightly gauche opening, is in fact no more oblique than tipping "here comes the summer"-style keyboards into a lucky dip of sloganeering, fruity melodies and a verse which (we imagine unintentionally) apes half man half biscuit's "styx gig (seen by my mates coming out of a)". it's possibly the poppiest piece of sunshine here, with bonus points for false ending. you will also know our views on records that last 18 minutes - i.e. they are ace, almost regardless of the content therein. in this case, however, there are legion other regions to be cheerful. this album is a riot of colour and sound, with the nihilism of the buzzcocks' "boredom", the knowing cynicism of the adverts and the prickly melodies of the stranglers. their next album could go anywhere - we quite fancy the direction of the ruts or atv, if the welcome surprise of marginal nods to the echoey clatter of dub by drum n' bass axis flunder and pursey on the title track count for anything - but we're looking forward to it already..."