THE STROPPIES: Look Alive (Tough Love, 2020)

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«Recorded soon after the band returned from a European tour in 2019, the StroppiesLook Alive mini-album finds the foursome at the height of their songwriting powers. The previous record Whoosh! was something of a revelation. It was made up of small songs with big hooks, played with restraint and arranged in seemingly haphazard fashion, but perfect just the same. This record is like a bite-sized and home-cooked version of Whoosh! It has the same high level of writing and playing, songs that have the same balance of emotion and melody, and it hits all the right buttons for any fan of Flying Nun, low-key indie rock, and the current crop of Australian jangle pop bands. It kicks off with the rumbling, loose-as-a-too-big-T-shirt «Burning Bright,» shifts into moody jangle on the title track, then proceeds to bounce between those two sweet spots the rest of the way. «Roller Cloud,» a melancholy duet sung byAngus Lord and Claudia Serfaty, is a highlight, and so is the organ-driven «Holes in Everything,» a rollicking tune that sounds like the result of a collaboration between the Clean and the Chills. «Enter or Exit» is expansive indie pop that has the kind of easy confidence most bands never are able to display, much less one with so few releases under their belt. The only problem with the album is that it’s over far too soon. Look Alive is more proof of that undeniable fact that over a very short period of time the Stroppies have established themselves as true inheritors of the Flying Nun sound and spirit» (All Music)

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