Having a song called Consolation Prize should be a dead giveaway, but National Pastime aren’t Orange Juice clones. No more are they named after the Stockholm Monsters song. What this Exeter band’s fine third album, Bookmarks, does show is them sharing the influences of chiming guitar pop and charmingly offbeat psychedelia that were the bedrock for 80s indie.
The key tracks – to these ears at least – are Leningrad (the Teardrop Explodes’ Tiny Children meets the Television Personalities’ A Sense Of Belonging) and The Girl With The Long Brown Hair (this could be a lost Orchids song).
Bookmarks is well-crafted English pop – did someone mention XTC? – and even if it stumbles on occasion, there’s enough quietly stated classic songwriting to capture your hearts, especially if you always thought The Cure were far better with all the goth trappings stripped away.