SETTLE THE SCORE
As we wave goodbye to the summer that never was, The Bagatelles offer up a solid dose of nostalgic yet refreshing indie in the form of three-track release ‘Settle The Score’.
Based in Derbyshire, The Bagatelles came together in Spring 2018 and have been grabbing attention since with their energetic performances and feel-good indie tunes, including airplay on BBC Introducing. I had to Google what a bagatelle is (it was 1am and I had bread on my mind), and it happens to be a short and unpretentious piece of music, light and mellow- which sums up The Bagatelles’ vibe nicely.
A sound evocative of Kooks-era indie, Settle The Score is at its core a melodic call to arms to stand up for what you believe in. There’s something comforting about this release- I close my eyes and I’m 16 in the indie tent at my local music festival with glitter pressed on my cheeks and a flat, warm cider in my hand. It’s certainly more polished than that mental picture, but wouldn’t be out of place in the ears of rowdy teenage festival revellers. The song is uncomplicated and invites joyful movement, just what any song with this kind of pop energy should strive for. Settle The Score deserves to be danced to, so I look forward to The Bagatelles having a chance to play it to an enthusiastic crowd.
Time Will Tell is somewhat of a tribute to Arctic Monkeys ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’– whilst this was a controversial change of pace for AM, this track doesn’t feel out of step with the rest of The Bagatelle’s catalogue. Crooning guitars open, and Tranquility Base aside, I’m heading further into the archives back to 505 in a way which feels familiar but by no means stale. This B-Side contrasts nicely with Settle The Score, showcasing The Bagatelles’ mastery of indie moods from the upbeat to the more melancholy. The lyrics wonder what will become of post-lockdown life, and are perhaps an acknowledgment of taking the times before for granted.
C-side demo ‘The Promised Land’ sees The Bagatelles channelling their inner Dylan. Described by the band as a ‘little love letter to the place (we) grew up in’, this upbeat folky tune is a slight departure from their other tracks. Perhaps taking The Bagatelles into more experimental territory (let’s be honest, we’ve all been there over lockdown), Jon’s vocals provide a level of consistency- this is very much still them. There’s something interesting about a band that can meander through different styles and moods whilst still keeping their energy flowing.
It’s easy to see the influences on this release, with nods to indie legends like The Strokes, The Libertines, and Miles Kane, to name but a few. The Bagatelles wouldn’t be out of place on a classic indie lineup, which is probably just what we’ll be craving when we’re back bouncing at gigs. Settle The Score is a last little injection of summer to see us through the winter, and I’m sure all the classic indie-heads out there will be grateful for it.
Listen to Settle the Score here now.
FOLLOW THE BAGATELLES
WRITTEN BY VERONIQUE HAWKSWORTH
* photos Rob O’Brien