Broadcast The Noise Made By People

The often-perceived mutual exclusivity of pop and the avant-garde is something of a lie. Pop has virtually always appropriated the components of its most innovative, and thrilling, strides from sources beneath its audience's radar. And so if it weren't such a disservice to the very tangible humanity of this British quintet's album debut, it could be said to be the warmest, most approachable art record of the year. But, The Noise Made By People (three years in the making after the Work And Non-Work singles compilation) is pop at heart - indelible choruses, incessant melodicism - but reaching out at every angle for new filters through which to refract it. The group's affection for the wide-screen production of '60s pop and film soundtracks (a golden age of experimentation in the mainstream) is well documented and in great evidence here. "Come On Let's Go," an instantly engrossing single, recalls British arranger Tony Hatch's work for Petula Clark; instrumental interludes such as "Minus One" and "Tower Of Our Tuning" are redolent of John Barry or Ennio Morricone scores. Throughout the album, percolating beneath Trish Keenan's beautiful vocals, are brilliant collisions of sounds familiar and foreign. The end result is an album simultaneously adrift and earthbound, singular and meticulously rendered and almost always too, too gorgeous. (Tommy Boy)