When it comes to new music, freshness is key for the listener. Not so much in terms of a lyrical freshness, but a sound which is clean and exciting.

And when we think about guitar pop we conjure images of a certain energy and feeling which comes with a delivery capable of making us sit up and take notice. Enter the distinctive chemistry of Aug Stone and David Shah.

The Soft Close-Ups debut album City Air is available for download right now and is gathering quite a momentum. A wonderful blend of warm yet intriguing vocals complimented beautifully by that soft funk-like guitar sound and delivered perfectly, wrapped in a box of colourful energy.

It flows extremely well and maintains a tone which may well come to define The Soft Close-Ups. Delivered with a vocal tone which can only be described as magically reminiscent of Morrissey no less, the entire album has a refreshing touch of the Smiths. And as one vocalist once explained to me; “There’s no point trying to deflect from who you sound like, as long as the sound is natural.”

And natural it certainly is.

Title track City Air is the first offering. From the onset it’s upbeat and charmingly funky. Lyrically it’s akin to a story descriptively unfolding in the sense that you want to hear every word. It’s wonderfully colourful, as is the video which illustrates that classic London ’60s and ’70s feeling through what feels like the sometimes grainy images of happy memories. Colourful and almost comic-like, it works very, very well indeed.

The Way I Don’t Kiss offers a drop in tempo yet maintains that same plucky guitar tone. By now we feel a theme developing and it’s evident The Soft Close-Ups are not afraid to be lyrically expressive, nor to find a distinct way of making it work. Shah’s vocal talent is clear and clean-a factor around which Stone has crafted a guitar sound which is both captivating and catchy.

A great example of those wonderfully descriptive lyrics can be found in third track, Awkward Scenes. “Like far too much sugar in your coffee, your presence a comfort, not something to scream of.” Digest that for a moment why don’t you?

For me, the shining light is penultimate track, Eiscafe. The song carries a certain enchantment. Shah’s vocal drifts into play, beautifully intercepting the dreamy acoustic intro. Flowing as nature intended and beautifully written, the sentiment here is completely relatable. A masterpiece.  And it’s a theme which carries through into City Air’s final offering.

Inroads is as charming as it is haunting. The song offers an almost beautifully somber climax to an album which, rather than growing in energy or volume, flows naturally to a gradual, magical halt.

City Air is a ten track offering which will captivate. It will serve as the signature sound for The Soft Close-Ups as they seek to build on the momentum already behind them.

Stay tuned for updates and live dates from The Soft Close-Ups.

City Air, the refreshingly catchy debut album is available for download right now.