A parting shot of sorts from local indie rock stalwarts Raising the Fawn (their frontman, Soundscapes fixture and sometime BSS guitarist John Crossingham's taking a break from rock 'n' roll road trips to start a family), Sleight Of Hand marks a significant shift away from the band's typical dreamily layered post-shoegazer sound.
At heart, this is a collection of meticulously structured, taut pop songs. Crossingham and bandmates Scott Remila and Dylan Green focus on matching particular guitar and bass tones (each track lists the specific instruments used, from Les Pauls to Rickenbackers) to the tune's mood and narrative. The jittery, clicking Focusfocusfocus opens up into a subtle Telecaster buzz, while classic slacker rock anthem You Are The Enemy (think Urban Bohemia-era Dandy Warhols) rides a head-nodding reverbed Epiphone riff. Studio genius Ian Blurton makes sure you're able to hear the precise differences between the axes.
Sleight Of Hand is a cleaner, more urgent release than anything else in the RTF catalogue, though Crossingham's lyrics can feel too monumental and literary for their musical skeletons, and the disc would benefit from a little less falsetto.
RTF launch their disc at the Rivoli tonight (Thursday, August 2).