We’ve been anticipating a longer form release from The Tubs for a couple of years now having witnessed them at PinUps back in 2019. The band features members of Joanna Gruesome, Ex Void and Sniffany And The Nits. If that’s not enough reason to listen then I don’t know what is.
Owen Williams takes vocal duties throughout and, on these recording, as he does onstage, exudes an extreme confidence. His vocal delivery is expressive, switching between croons and spoken word, sometimes within the same line. Formed alongside former Joanna Gruesome bandmate George Nicholls on guitar, they also recruited Max Warren of the aforementioned on bass, Steve Stonholdt on guitar and Matthew Green on drums.
The musicianship is in line with their previous tastes, with more of the jangle, less of the punk.
The Teenage Fanclub influence is still there a touch but this is more Smithsian (sorry, I hate that phrase).
Lead track “Illusion” is an upbeat janglefest with instantly infectious melodies. The lead guitar touches provide space amongst the constant bounce. It’s a sensational two minutes.
“The Name Song”, the almost title track is a seventies feel. A little Modern Lovers-esque, with Williams rolling through a list of names and everyday tasks. “Ray walking in the park… Tim learning Japanese”. It’s a simple concept and a lot of fun. As the “I don’t care about anyone” chorus kicks in Williams begins to sound quite uncannily like Lou Barlow.
The Tubs take a post-punky turn on “Two Person Love”.
The slinky guitar lick in the intro is a joy when combined with the chunky bassline. Again, there’s a Lou Barlow quality to Williams’ vocal and it comes across almost like a slicker, groovier Sebadoh.
Closer “Crystal Ball” is a little more fiddly, but no less of a pop gem for it. Williams’ vocal delivery here is perhaps the most dynamic on the EP. Largely spoken word in the verses, the chorus is allowed to sore. The musicianship holds a lot in common with Automatic For The People era R.E.M. The breakdowns, the shimmering guitars and melodic structure are superb.
The ‘Names EP’ is short-lived but it’s all killer. Brimming with vivid and sophisticated pop gems. Whatever these guys touch seems to turn to gold.
You may enjoy this if you like: Ex Void, Joanna Gruesome, The Smiths, R.E.M., Lou Barlow
Names EP is out now via Trouble In Mind and Prefect Records