As cliché bad quips go, ‘nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’ possesses awkwardly pertinent ‘sort of funny because it’s true’ quality. This – ironically – was never more true than now. And stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before, but I can’t help but feel that the worse things get, and the more shit like austerity, Brexit, Trump, and now – I can barely brig myself to type it – the advent of Johnson as Britain’s 77th Prime Minister, the more deeply we – as individuals and as a global culture – are compelled to retreat to the comfort of times past, however crap they may have been in reality. The 80s under Thatcher with soaring unemployment weren’t as bad as all that… there was so much great music, so many great movies, which are now bona fide classics.
This is my initial contemplation on reading the press release which opens by informing us that ‘Swedish-Australian outfit Tiny Fighter delve into future-looking nostalgia in ‘Where Are You Now’ – which in some respects carries connotations of the nostalgia for the short-lived act, the one-hit wonder. Yeah, you were in Swingout Sister or The Colourfield, or even Japan or Ultravox, but where are you now? There are heaps of acts on the nostalgia circuit, but those who aren’t… what are they up to?
That clearly isn’t quite the focus of the EP. A three-tracker, it’s succinct, more aligned to the old 12” single format than an EP. ‘Tell Me’ opens strongly, with a wistful verse defined by a jangling guitar and solid bass that bursts into a driving chorus. The vocal melodies are nicely layered, and the whole thing sits somewhere between The Cranberries and All About Eve – so probably in Sunshot territory, only with live drums.
‘Where Are You Now’ is a bit more middling, calling to mind late 80s / early 90s melodic indie pop with a hint of Smiths, Lush, but also more post-millennial, early Pink. Piano-led ballad ‘Katrina’ goes for the heartstrings and spins a country twist in the background with some distant lap steel and a rolling rhythm. ‘Caught in the storm… lost in the storm,’ she sings in the closing refrain as she reaches out to the world. And we feel the empathy, the emotion.
It may only contain three songs, but this EP showcases Tiny Fighter’s range to optimal effect.