It isn’t often we get tracks of this kind, they are a rare beast. If ‘No Plans (For This Year)’ was a person, you’d probably find them standing in the same queue as acts like Elbow, British Sea Power and Philip Selway. But it’s actually Tugboat Captain’s newest release, and a precursor to their upcoming studio debut. It is a wonderful, immediately hummable tune.
‘No Plans (For This Year)’ starts on a sinister, Joy Division-esque picked guitar, before launching into the jaunty baroque-pop stylings the band have become known for. Backed by morphing horns and tempestuous strings, the track is driven by big clear vocals with the occasional yelp of encouragement in the background. And it’s very catchy, very earnest; there’s a lot of variety in the arrangement too, which leaps around and keeps you guessing.
The mix is dry and punchy, with tons of depth and warmth. The Abbey Road studio setting seems to have only added more flavor to Tugboat’s already Beatles-y sound. There are big fiery guitar tones too, a surprise on such a cheery track, but a welcome one. It calls to mind some of the dramatic pop stylings of The Feeling’s first album; another pleasant reminder.
So if you haven’t got on board with this cracking band yet, now’s as good a time as any. ‘No Plans (For This Year)’ welcomes you into a log cabin, sits you down with a hot cocoa and proceeds to wait on your every need for four minutes and eighteen seconds. Tugboat Captain should’ve been at SXSW this year, but instead they’re stuck indoors like the rest of us, so help lift their spirits by streaming this delightful slice of upbeat wonderment.
Tugboat Captain’s debut studio album, Rut is out this October on Double A-Side Records. Pre-order a copy on vinyl, here.