You'd hardly know from listening to Hoick, the debut record from Mikey Collins, out tomorrow on Fika Recordings, that the cat was a drummer, a drummer for Allo Darlin' more specifically. It's not that the release is amazingly tuneful and invigorating in such a way as to suggest something not dependent on rhythms (though it is), it's just that I can't think of many drummers who have this sort of ease with a hook.
The buoyant "Warmer Sun" sounds like The Supernaturals and The Divine Comedy, while the propulsive "Anchor in the Sea" made me think of Prefab Sprout and Ooberman, of all things. The cut is faintly electronic, but it's more like a Paul McCartney single from the Eighties, when Macca was trying to be modern, so that sort of modern. That snark is not meant to be seen as a dig at Mikey Collins but, rather, an acknowledgement of the quaint, easy, retro charms here on this selection, and many others on Hoick. To pursue that point a bit more, I'd add that lots and lots of this sounds like that Dave Depper (Death Cab For Cutie) solo record I raved about so much last year. Really, that is the closer comparison point to stuff like "Falling" and other numbers here. Elsewhere, the superb "Home Bird" breezes past like something from Mull Historical Society, while the percolating "West Coast" soars, all early Nineties New Order grafted onto a Human League beat and wrapped up and presented in the style of a surprisingly sunny Pulp single. Collins is aided here by the presence of Laura Kovic of Tigercats on vocals and other instruments, along with drummer Ian Button and Tom Parkinson. Kovic adds a lightness to the tracks on Hoick that suits the material, rendering it in step with the best in contemporary indie-pop even as the washes of keyboards and layered instrumentation suggest an album with firmer debts to earlier eras' musicians.
Hoick is out on Friday via Fika Recordings.