LP plus bonus mix CD (CD's arriving second week of Feb)
It must be something close to a lifetime ago - I'm going to guess at 2019 and stand to be corrected - that Julia McFarlane performed in the shop in promotion of the release of Ta Da, her debut solo LP. All sorts of things have happened in the intervening period, though five years does feel like an unusually long time between records for an artist who'd previously displayed a prolific temperament. Whatever the reason, Whoopee does constitute a fairly marked departure from previous output. Ta Da was somewhat of a continuation of the ideas McFarlane was exploring with the shortlived but equally thrilling Blank Statements (please do investigate that one if you've yet to), a mostly skeletal post-punk offering that bridged the gap between The Raincoats and Young Marble Giants with a little spooky alchemy to help colour the gaps. On first listen, you might mistake Whoopee for belonging to an entirely different artist, a dreamy, synth-driven collection with a jazzy, riviera-pop feel, something like the Marine Girls re-imagined by HTRK. Or, if you like, Weekend or The Gist to Ta Da's YMG. By contrast, it's a much smoother, late night dwelling proposition. What is consistent, however, is McFarlane's keen pop instincts, an effortless melodicist with an uncanny act to balance the playful and the primitive with something that little bit stranger and off-key. What amounts, in the end, to wonky poptimism at its most unapologetic.