Full Ugly - Spent the Afternoon

One listen to Spent the Afternoon will conjure up images of American summer, red cup beers nestled in the sand and young love kisses stolen in the shadow of the beach house. Except Full Ugly is the brainchild of Melbourne native Nathan Burgess, so you might say the louche rock produced by the four-piece on this debut is actually more Summer Bay than Venice Beach. Despite the album shining a spotlight on the Australian alternative scene, Burgess and his band offer up perfect fodder for Pitchfork-indebted US college radio and end up coming off like a shabby, slow-moving and sun-drunk Vampire Weekend, their music indebted to the season of summer - and quite possibly limiting itself for this same reason.

The ten tracks of this blissed-out half hour bob about in the shallows between a naïve grunge sensibility, 90s-style jangly guitar indie and washes of warm, wide-eyed dream pop. On first listen, it sounded a bit of a shambling mess (not helped by Burgess's thin vocals, which keep the lyrics at bay and add to the lo-fi 'shrug' feel of it all) but it's caught me unawares since, the guitar work especially tugging at something inward that yearns for beach sunsets with friends and the nostalgic hope offered up by every new summer. So, while the prettiness that blossoms at Full Ugly's rough edges may well be forgotten by the time October rolls around, there are definitely worse soundtracks to spend an afternoon with come sunnytime.



out of 10

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