It Is What It Is is the debut record from Posable Action Figures, a self-described Electrobluespoprock band from Edinburgh, consisting of Gareth Goodlad (Vocals/Guitar) and Kyle Grieve on drums and samples.
Having kicked about in one form or another since at least 2016, it’s taken Posable Action Figures a while to get round to recording a record, but with the first wave of Covid-19 allowing them to find time to record, mix and master their material, their debut album has finally arrived and fortunately enough it’s a good one.
“Are you ready or not?” Goodlad asks on opener ‘Inhaler’, a stomping retro rock track with a touch of Queens of the Stone Age or Jack White’s Raconteurs.
‘Black Leather’ sails in on an intricate drum groove and low-slung garage blues guitar before bursting into a noisy riff driven refrain reminiscent of Royal Blood.
Next up is ‘Danger Kill’, the first of two tracks featuring Stina Tweeddale from fellow Scots rockers Honeyblood, a punky two-minutes-twenty with a wrongfooting piano interlude.
Tweeddale appears again on the less distinctive ‘Simulator’, but it’s the former that makes the most of the combo, tossing off barroom snarls like Sneaky Pete’s is already open again.
Alongside Goodlad’s explosive vocal turn on ‘Bound’, this opening trio is probably the strongest and punchiest stretch of the record.
The latter half of the record runs kicks off with medium-grade Strokes lift ‘Laura’, the blues-garage strut of ‘Ya Dress Good’ and the noisy but danceable ‘De Nada’ – a promising track where the melody doesn’t quite match up to the irresistible groove.
Towards the end of the record, ‘Rocko’ is the best of the slower paced songs, with Goodlad’s vocals sheared of reverb, telling a heartfelt tale of bonding over the cult nineties MTV show Rocko’s Modern Life.
In some ways, it seems a curious choice, having already waited years to produce a debut album to release it at a time when fans will likely have to wait until at least the autumn to see these songs live. It will be a test of the staying power of these songs to see whether the buzz of a new record is still there.
Already tipped as a contender for Scottish Album of the Year by Jim Gellatly, It Is What It Is doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but it’s a well-produced and catchy set of rock songs, delivered by an act who have shown the benefits of taking your time to build up a strong collection of material. If you’re going to strike a pose you better make it a good one and Goodlad and Grieve can be proud of the album they have put together.
Words: Max Sefton