The Catenary Wires: Birling Gap (Skep Wax/Shelflife) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Catenary Wires

Birling Gap

Skep Wax/Shelflife

Jul 06, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

With five decades and a plethora of incredible records between them, it should come as no surprise that indie-pop supergroup The Catenary Wires have delivered one of 2021’s finest collections to date.

While Birling Gap might only be the third Catenary Wires long player in six years, it is the first to feature the full line-up as a five-piece. Which is immediately evident on opener “Face on the Rail Line”—a song that isn’t that structurally dissimilar to The Charlatans’ “North Country Boy” amongst other things—and continues throughout its 10 pieces.

Named after a National Trust site on the South East coast of England, Birling Gap revels in its inclusivity, diversity, and insatiable knack for delivering hook-laden pop songs. Whether that be the ecstatic “Mirrorball,” with its scene set on a club dancefloor. Or the rueful “Cinematic,” which reminisces about the time the UK welcomed outsiders before the hostilities of Brexit took over.

As with previous Catenary Wires records, founder members Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey take center stage, acting as spokespeople for their (and future) generation. They are aided and abetted by Fay Hallam on Hammond organ plus multi-instrumentalists Andy Lewis and Ian Button.

Birling Gap is a smorgasbord of delightful delicacies that, once savored, become repeatedly devoured. But don’t just take our word for it. Dive in! (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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