Ahead of a full-length album later this year, Olympians have released an extended EP/mini-album via Barely Regal with the fitting title ‘Dance Like Everybody’s Watching and They Hate You’. Full of the feelings that have quickly become the London-via-Norwich quartet’s trademark, it follows on from last year’s ‘Adventure Gun’ EP and retains the dreamy, drone-tinged atmospherics of that release – but with added observations on the misery of modern life…
Opening with the swirling and slow-burning previous single ‘Brunch Cannon’ which recounts ‘clumsy poems’, ‘a sober eatery where you got too fucking drunk’ and how you should ‘stay inside, there’s nothing for you here’, it’s world-weary and brooding piece that also contains a group-chanted sing-along of: ‘Find a melody and keep it in your head. Buy a glockenspiel. Make music from your bed.’ Advice you should heed… This is followed by the short, sharp and witty live favourite ‘Basking Sharks’ – a song that has a touch of Mimas in its reflections: ‘I saw a childish sadness I kind of renounced’. Laden with riffs, ‘Shame Spirals’ continues this line of self-depreciation as Dan Harvey sings with a sigh: ‘Saturday smashed up in lager town, I remember wiping vomit with my handkerchief and Sunday morning as I leave the house, the full force of it drains me. I’m shame spiralling’. As the band delve into math-rock territory (with some restrained brass), Dan then remembers the horror of the following Monday morning before jumping forward a week to recall the important debates of the weekend: ‘Saturday, wake up, pick up the kids. I’m defending Peter Parker’s right to privacy; I’m arguing when Frasier jumped the shark.’ The answer to the second one is surely when Niles married Daphne, isn’t it?
‘Tiny Umbrellas’ has a bigger sound in its opening moments but still keeps the woozy elements and dry humour that serve the band so well – especially when all four members sing in unison: ‘So we drink weak piss with a tiny umbrella wedged in it. We bury our things with the landmines in the old sandpit’ before Dan reflects on whether they should dig up their things before deciding they’d be best left where they are: ‘We would soon lose an arm or a leg’. A metaphor for moods and feelings, the orchestral song is also full of worries and statements anyone who’s fed up of the effort involved in social interaction and meeting new people will generally agree with…
‘Duvet Days’ is wrapped in nostalgia and has plenty of melancholy moments that range from tiring of endless Cheers repeats to grander questions: ‘And if you leave, where will I go?’ – all set against a musical backdrop that comes across somewhat akin to Clock Opera grappling with Maybeshewill. The first in a closing triple bill of songs, it’s followed by the droney electronica of ‘Washing Machine’ – which actually does appear to have a spin cycle racing through – and then the finale of ‘Disappear Completely’. With its understated keyboards and delicate keyboards, it’s a song surrounded by sadness. It’s also full of the futile hopelessness of dealing with idiots and the tiresome effect this can have on anyone’s well-being: ‘I want to disappear completely, I’m afraid I’ll find my own way back. Reminiscent of Blur’s ‘Battery in Your Leg’, it’s a subtle and stunning end to an emotion-filled EP.
Buy ‘Dance Like Everybody’s Watching and They Hate You via Bandcamp.
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