That Petrol Emotion

After the Undertones split, in the mid-80s, John O'Neill and a friend, Raymond Gorman, started DJ'ing together at clubs. Eventually, they began writing songs influenced by this new pursuit of theirs, then performing them out with a drum machine. In time, a human drummer joined, and Damian, John's brother and another former member of the Undertones, got involved, too, and a proper band was formed.

There's much That Petrol Emotion and the Undertones share—that wiry and slippery lead guitar, that chatty rhythm guitar—but this is distinctly its own thing, directed more at dance music built on loopy arrangements than garage and punk.

Babble is an excellent LP that so smoothly, cunningly shapeshifts from one sound of the era to another that it's hard to imagine it as being of that same era; the type of real-time self-awareness it must've required is hard to imagine. As a result, they read more like an early-2000s post-punk revivalist group, unique for the reassessment a decade's worth of remove creates—think Interpol, stellastarr*, British Sea Power—than a first-wave (second-wave?) one. Pretty impressive. A song that illustrates this particularly is "Static."