All three singles here offer a fairly similar recipe – a grungy, not unpleasant (if a little dull), distorted guitar backing allied to Quinn’s lyrics, displaying a pleasing mix of downbeat humour and observation. On title track ‘January Drabs’, we hear Quinn reveal ‘I know I’ve over indulged and I self medicated / part of the problem on which much of this is predicated’ and later, ‘wherein I’m standing on the foreshore of the sea of tranquillity / hoping my hallucination’s onset of senility’ but the song is let down somewhat by an overly repetitive chorus which grates after a few listens, a feeling somewhat amplified on the acoustic version.
‘Rose- is a 53 second throwaway, but ‘Tailrace’ is probably the most encouraging thing here. Quinn shrugs off his financial concerns: ‘Scrape a few bucks just to break the ennui / and dispel the impression life’s wasted on me’ and ‘so if I have a few bob gonna put it to the job / of putting smiles on this tired old face / coz you can’t take it with you where I’m going / into the old Tailrace’. When he suggests ‘conspicuous capitalists telling me to tighten my belt if that’s not a disgrace’ its not hard to sympathise.
There’s certainly a pop sensibility here that carves these melodies into your head, and the lyrics throughout hold your attention. The main problem lies in the somewhat leaden pacing, and the backing vocals, which steer dangerously close to Saw Doctors territory – a place I’m sure most of us here don’t particularly want to stray! There is promise elsewhere on previous EP’s – notably Tailraces’ ‘No Where’, so I’m afriad the jury’s out until we get a listen to TTB’s impending debut full length.