Strawberry Smell Odorama

If ever there was a band name designed to turn people off, it was the Strawberry Smell. There's just no way to excuse it. So what if the band are from France? So what if they sound like a glorious mix of the Beatles, the Apples In Stereo, the Kinks and so many other bands? They traverse the line between indie rock and psychedelia, never quite deciding which side to fall down on. Odorama is a spectacularly good album, packed full of very good songs. The band's biggest asset is that they know all the best people to actually plagiarise from: there are the snippets from the aforementioned bands, plus you can add the Left Banke, the Soft Boys, the Blue Aeroplanes and the Byrds to the list. To be perfectly honest, the list is almost never ending, because you hear something new with every subsequent listen, as there's an awful lot going on here. At times, the borrowing is a lot less subtle - the opening track, "Zensong #9," sounds remarkably close to Teenage Fanclub's "About You," but that's completely forgivable, considering the end result. The Strawberry Smell somehow manages to blend elements from so many influences and styles together into one glorious, seamless album, which demands to be heard. Just don't be dissuaded by the name. (Rainbow Quartz)