First of all - it's snowing, yay! That aside, I got Pocketbooks' brand new ep in the mail today! It's called Waking Up, and is recorded by the new line-up (including Ian from The Cut-Outs). Far away from their lo-fi early demos, this is a first class pop recording. It still needs some production, as there's hardly any treble and not much bass, but that is not enough to prevent Pocketbooks from finally revealing themselves as the ingenious pop band they've always been. We've known Andy to be a prolific and very talented songwriter, but here Dan and Emma contribute one of the best songs, called "Love Is the Stick You Throw". It's got some very lovely instrumental bits, which not many bands tend to bother with since Belle & Sebastian. Definitely an underrated element in pop composition! Belle & Sebastian is of course also the overbearing influence on Andy's songs, with their endlessly spiraling lines and imaginative words. The best example is "Falling Leaves", one of my old favourites now re-recorded, which is also the best song of the four here I think. With a bit more of a beat, it would be destined for floorfiller status even beyond HDIF! I really like the sounds they've created, like the combination of piano and organ, and there's some classic indiepop style guitar ranging from tinkling picking to trashy fuzz (almost sounds like an electric organ at the end of "Waking Up"!). I'm really looking forward to hearing them play this live! If you haven't ordered the record yet, Make Do and Mend is the place to get it.