Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the future, here come the Epoxies with their second album. And yes, the band is still fizzing like sherbert, still as gloriously ersatz as Irn Bru. If you harboured any fears that the Epoxies might have taken it into their heads to go prog, or anything equally counter-intuitive, please rest assured. They're still as brash and immediate as ever. And here, they dish up thirteen tracks of impeccable high-tack pop-punk, encased in wipe-clean plastic for your convenience.
The Epoxies' winning way with a superfast bubblegum riff is neatly showcased on 'Radiation', which also features that other staple of the band's sound - the fuzzed-out analogue keyboard wail. 'There's radiation in my TV set,' announces Roxy Epoxy, kicking off a theme that runs right thorough this album. Television seems to be a major obsession of the Epoxies - possibly because, in their retro-future world, it represents the height of high tech. 'Synthesized' hammers along on (appropriately enough) yet more vintage synth sounds, while the guitars kick the riff around like energetic schoolkids. 'See them on the TV screen...' begins Roxy. Yep, this is another of the band's TV-obsession songs. But it's 'Everything Looks Beautiful On Video' that really brings the theme to the fore, on a lovely, lilting pop song that would be cool in any style but suits the Epoxies' retro-fuzz sound perfectly. That's the band's killer app - for all their impeccably executed old-skool chops, when it comes right down to it, they simply know how to write great pop songs.
'No Interest' takes off on a tangent. 'They cruise in unmarked vans/Your thoughts are in their hands' warns Roxy, all of a sudden striking a note of foreboding. Here, it seems, we go beyond television: 'They're done with TV screens/They're using laser beams' - ah, lasers, that other essential piece of classic technology. Somehow, you just know that when the Epoxies break into the villain's lair, they'll find all the controls are made of bakelite. But if there's one absolute anthem on this album, it has to be 'Toys', which - almost astonishingly - doesn't contain any references to television, but does feature a jaunty synth riff which sounds incongruously EBM-ish...until the guitar kicks in on a chug-a-chug one-chord riff and the song takes off on a delightfully spiralling melody which I guarantee will take up permanent residence in your head approximately half a second after you first hear it.
The Epoxies are a consummate pop group with an instinctive grasp of all the coolest new wave moves. They've got an engaging schtick and a style which could have sprung fully formed from the pages of the Trouser Press Guide To New Wave Records. But they back all this stuff up with the ability to write great, simple, and simply great songs, and that's why you should take them to your PVC-encased heart.