Just outside of Oxford there’s the Farmoor Reservoir. I’ve only ever been there on Google Maps, but somehow I’ve been wanting to go there since I first saw it as a large blue spot west of where I live. Someday I undoubtably will. For now though, there’s another reservoir in Oxford I can’t get enough of: Rainbow Reservoir, our local indie pop band fronted by the wonderful Angela. (They’re actually named after another reservoir, this one in Connecticut where Angela is from; here’s a very exciting video of it.)
It’s easy to pinpoint their sound, ’cause it’s the modern version of that 90s twee sound we used to love: Tiger Trap, Tullycraft and of course Talulah Gosh/Heavenly, who, incidentally, were also from Oxford. And you know what? Maybe Rainbow Reservoir are the best band from around here since them. (Never mind Ride, no one likes Ride. And what about Radiohead? Well, they’re Radiohead, but they’re just not much fun, are they?). In an interview I did with Angela, she calls her music ‘loser pop’: just too lame to be punk, but still loud enough to show they’re from 2016. And although Angela claims that doesn’t mean Rainbow Reservoir is music for losers, I disagree: this is the sort of music losers have loved to hear since 1986.
On their new EP Coco Sleeps Around, on the ever sublime Odd Box Records, Rainbow Reservoir are at their very best. The driven title track about Coco who sleeps around sounds like it should become an indie classic and I bet you in 10 years time we’ll all be wearing rainbow-coloured patches with ‘Coco’ written on them to gigs. It’s a name as musical and rhythmic as ‘Lolita’. Two-in-one track ‘City Bike/Factor of 10’ is dorky and lovely (“You’re my rainbow on a rainy day”), while ‘Kate Moss With a Moustache’ packs a bit more punch with its catchy refrain and hey did you know there’s actually a photo of Kate Moss with a moustache – sort of? Closing track ‘Just Say Yes’ features a heavier sound that’s good for rocking out, and although it’s perhaps a bit too simple and oafy to be as good as the other songs on Coco Sleeps Around, I can imagine this becoming a live favourite.
So when hearing something like Coco Sleeps Around, I almost wish the band would never release anything else. Just so we can have those songs and treasure them, just so Rainbow Reservoir will stay in Oxford appearing as a guest on my student radio show for forever. But they’re even going to Cardiff now! And it’s selfish to keep this all to myself, so instead I’ll try to tell the world about it. Listen to Rainbow Reservoir before they become legendary!
Coco Sleeps Around is out on September 10th on Odd Box Records – you can pre-order a copy here.
-- Caspar Jacobs, September 8, 2016