Optimistic Sizing

Leeds trio come out of the gates swinging with an album of megaphone vocals and pudding-y blarts

The debut LP from Leeds troupe Objections is one of those funny ones: an atypical offering that only fits in anywhere because it springs from the same petri dish as other acts who are equally hard to place. 

The trio tap into a wider tradition of UK post-punk, post-hardcore and post-rock bands raised on the DIY lore and over-the-ocean glamour of labels like Dischord, Touch & Go and SST. These faraway sounds and ideals have been transposed to suit lives lived under dull, mizzly skies, grown strong on chip shop chips, the players driven by a compulsive need to make life more interesting because the council closed the local library. Over the past twenty years or so these ranks have included the likes of Grey Hairs, That Fucking Tank and Cove, as well as the outlier acts from which Objections sprang: Nape Neck, Bilge Pump, Polaris and All Structures Align. 

Optimistic Sizing scuttles, bubbles and creaks. Everything occupies its own space and does its own weird thing, somehow coagulating into songs that are awkward, inventive, and really rather charming. Guitarist Joseph O’Sullivan wrestles with a series of erratic, rubbery squalls that recall a less murder-minded take on John Congleton’s work with the pAper chAse: slippery and unpredictable, shiny like something briefly glimpsed through murky water. Drummer Neil Turpin lays down beats that are fidgety but decisive, betraying both his time in Bilge Pump and unsung Minutemen worshippers Solanki. Existing at the centre of all this is Claire Adams, who pins things in place with basslines that dart nimbly one moment and descend into uncouth, pudding-y blarts the next. Her voice is sonorous but forceful when it needs to be, conversationally recounting everyday failures and victories in terms that might be stern, or quizzical, or playful, but are never, ever, quirky

Already, Objections have a very clear idea of themselves, capable of hewing to a distinctive sound and wringing considerable diversity from it. The excellent ‘BSA Day’, previously sighted on a limited edition EP, resurfaces, albeit in tighter, tenser form. ‘The Lurker’ begins with a jarring, scattered wobble and somehow ends with a nod to Morcheeba, while ‘Excuses’ seems like a pulsating, psych-riven instrumental before twenty seconds of megaphone vocals are beamed down into the fuzz. ‘Hymns’, meanwhile, is perhaps the album’s standout moment: a surging, indie-punk anthem that’s roughly equal parts Uzeda, The Au Pairs and Smart Went Crazy. 

Things close out with ‘World’s Strongest’, which begins with a stern-faced bassline, incorporates lyrics about crapping on the floor and, ultimately, collapses amid some disastrous-sounding rending noises. In a way, this sums up both the album and Objections’ strange, mongrel lineage: not proud, not shy, and not half capable of doing a lot despite their deceptively modest means. 

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