Russian Spy b/w Many Secrets - The Neighbourhood Strange (Strange)
The latest in a spate of singles. Just when you'd pegged these veterans as a freakbeat-psych band, the A side has a vaguely surf sound to the guitars; the B side is ’60s-infused pop with a reedy keyboard texture and a slightly dark edge. Welcome to the sound of The Neighbourhood Strange, the English quintet from Salisbury.
“Russian Spy” references the Skripal poisoning scandal that put their home town in the news in a way that the Druids never could. Marcus Turner’s elegant yet edgy vocal gives the song a touch of cool reserve while the guitar lines play tag. “Many Secrets” takes a couple more spins to make an impact and then makes itself right at home. The guitarwork is a stand-out.
There’s a CD edition that adds three bonus tracks: “Mary Mary” is a moody chugger. “Walk on Water” is a lost love tale with spacey guitar and an impassioned, out-of-sorts vocal. “Desert Sand” is a rambunctious near-instrumental and the pick of the bonuses. With this sort of variety, you have to wonder where the album will land.