Sailing in on steel strings and static, Conveyor’s self-titled album starts like double tracked Beck, ticking all of the boxes marked quirky. The Nerds are singing a lost love song called “Woolgatherer” and they think Atari is the perfect backing.
For the brief “Two Davids” that follows they favour cod Japanese meets They Might Be Giants but with the occasional explosive noise. “Main” is a twee, folksy ditty that flits like a butterfly over summer meadow. “Short Hair” sounds like the sailor's return; the journey home shanty like – it’s sung as a surreal "round", showcasing the band’s amazing use of vocals.
As the album progresses it becomes more experimental – to the extent that the songs could be a complete, very different album. There are still gentle harmonies and twee leanings following “Homes”, but with odd noises and stoned tempos. This starts with “Reach”, which has a bit of Steve Hillage guitar (though that could just be me). Although the earlier tracks are fine, they’re also cloying – the latter two thirds sound like they were recorded on a galleon, and represent the part of the band that makes me want to recommend them.
“Home” is a funereal paced interlude, before the drumming intro of “Right Sleep” brings in a wobbling backing with splashy Albatross cymbals and sighing harmonies. It ends with a vaguely menacing and portentous alt rock instrumental which sounds huge for a minute before a gentler coda. The Exotica influenced “Mom Talk” conjures a holiday mood, while the lyric are a ridiculous list of possible obligated maternal conversations.
Had Conveyor transferred their avant pop suit to the entire album this would be a work of absolute greatness, but instead it’s an experimental banquet with some unessential starters.
Release: 17th July 2012, Paper Garden Records