MILES Sonic 3000 (V2/Big Store)

MILES Miles (V2)

Miles are a European quartet (their press releases are endearingly imprecise) who like to think that their music draws comparison with Mercury Rev and Grandaddy (i.e. two of the most delicate and compelling bands on the surface of the planet, with whom Miles conveniently share a record label; think again boys) and Fountains Of Wayne (second-rate sun-kissed, breezy American pop types, somewhat nearer the mark). Their music is enjoyable enough but seems dogged by a certain "not-quiteness" that many of their continental cousins are similarly afflicted by, the Amstrong single reviewed a few issues back being the most recent example I can cite. Nevertheless, on their debut EP "Sonic 3000" they endearingly cover Smog obscurity "Chosen One", and their own remix of their own "Grasshopper's Gone" is an endearingly waterlogged and experimental five minutes.

Stretched out over the space of their eponymous debut album, Miles offer a lot more of the same, which verges on the grating at times - does the world need another slyly ironic nudge at disco patrons like "Disco Queen"? It's all a bit 1976, and Tobias Kuhn's vocals, which sound like a mittel-Europe attempt to mimic the baby-soft harmonies of the early 60s Beach Boys, can become somewhat trying. (The presence of the song title "I Can Hear Music" would appear to reinforce the suggestion of Californian influences.) But on the other hand, the strangely titled "Building Up A "Connaissance"" works itself into a guitar lather that hints at a sanitised Built To Spill, and "Grasshopper's Gone" is still a fine song, even if presented in an inferior version to the mix on the "Sonic 3000" EP. But whether the world needs another album of happy, buzzy, moody synth and guitar alt-pop is open to considerable question.