The Pooches deliver a bittersweet Glasgow sound on their self-titled LP

By Ben Tipple

The Pooches’ songwriter Jimmy Hindle’s subtle tones, beautifully intertwined in the effervescent guitars, hark back to fellow Glaswegians Belle & Sebastian. Both share the distinctly hushed style, in equal parts retrospective and immensely current. Yet The Pooches forego the saccharine side in favour of an overt despondency. On the superficially upbeat ‘Everything’ Hindle speaks of emotional confinement. Even on ‘Japan’, the punchiest track on the record, veiled under the enthusiasm he appears less than happy with his friend’s impending adventures.

“The idea I had for the record was to make an album full of short, catchy upbeat songs, but with more melancholic lyrics… but kind of bookend the album with an optimistic song,” Jimmy explains his reasoning. “All of my favourite music tends to be those kind of songs, where the melody grabs you and you are singing along but only after a couple of listens do you think, ‘oh hang on, this song is kinda sad’.”

“I had a clear idea about how I wanted the album to flow…like it tells a kind of mini-story. Not that it’s a concept album! But it would be nice if folks listened to it in order to get the full vibe.”

With their self-titled debut as a full four-piece band, The Pooches celebrate the juxtaposition of bitter and sweet. Enjoyment is met with self-loathing and spite, all housed under a roof of immensely catchy pop. It’s an edge that sees them venture into the alternative scene, more at home with the likes of Modern Baseball than with The Beach Boys – both of whom could find an affinity here. Opening with the hook-filled ‘Heart Attack’ – a strong fixture on their already released debut EP from earlier in the year – ‘The Pooches’ is a steady listen, but one with abundant substance.

“We made the record over the course of about 8 months, working occasional weekends with our friend Chris McCrory,” Jimmy notes, hinting at the relaxed pace of the record. “It was nice to take so long to do it, so it didn’t seem rushed and we had time to think about arrangements and come up with new ideas etc. We wanted to keep it simple and as close to our live sound as possible, but it was nice to add wee embellishments here and there, like the ebow guitar on ‘Mulligan’ etc.”

The Pooches’ self-titled release is a collection of their various influences, as well as a product of their circumstances. It’s a celebration of their forefathers, contemporaries and the wider DIY scene in which they find themselves. Yet for Jimmy, it’s above all else, an unabashed pop record – a far cry from commercial sounds.

“Historically, there’s a lot of great guitar-pop music from Glasgow, and I very much wanted to follow on that tradition, as there isn’t that many bands here doing that now. There’s an amazing scene here with lots of awesome bands like Rapid Tan, Joyce Delaney, Anxiety etc. But nobody is doing straight up pop music. We are kind of the black sheep in the Glasgow scene! Which is maybe why people seem to like us!”

The Pooches’ self-titled LP will be avialable from the 9th September 2016, and is available to pre-order now through Lame-O Records.

For more on The Pooches, head to Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.