The Assistants The Assistants

Sometimes it’s hard to work out if a band are living in the past or simply anticipating the inevitable revival. Take the Assistants, for example. Just one look at the list of bands that they’ve been compared to — New Order, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Smiths and the Go-Betweens — and it isn’t hard to tell which decade they wish they lived in. Yet their timing is actually pretty good because as the band have sidestepped into less noisy, janglier pop music, they sound remarkably refreshing considering they are still looking backwards. There’s more than a bit of Roxy Music in singer Ciaran Megahey’s delivery but it’s sweetened by Kiley Meehan’s backing vocals and the insistent guitars drive along the majority of the songs at a good pace. Despite sometimes clumsy production, this is an impressive debut that hints that with time the Assistants might be capable of something very special. But not quite yet. (Independent)