If the poor souls tasked with planning the so-caalled Brexit Festival find themselves running short of ideas, they could perhaps turn to Laura Nunez aka She’s Got Spies for advice.
On ‘Super Sniffer Dogs’, the opening tune of this, her second album, she visualises a grim civic celebration among the tower blocks of East London. The security is heavy, there are elite sniffer dogs for all and there’s no mention of entertainment. A more fitting event to mark our departure from the EU you could not wish for.
The song has a twisted music hall feel and sets the tone well for what’s to follow. ‘Isle of Dogs’ is certainly a DIY sounding affair, with Nunez’s voice proving to be withering, often disillusioned narrator. But where it lacks polished production values and auto-tuned vocal perfection, it more than compensates with the more important stuff – good tunes, originality and communication.
‘Mariah Pariah’ is a perfect example. Bursting with energy and Garageband beats, with Nunez laying into a fake friend. “You didn’t like any of my posts,” she rails, “you’re such a liar.” It’s bitter but irredeemably infectious, and it makes us smile. ‘Where Did You Go’ , which closes the album, sees her coming on like a female Billy Bragg, augmented by low rent orchestration reminiscent of Baxter Dury’s ‘Prince of Tears’.
Nunez divides her time between Cardiff and her native London, and learned the Welsh language having been inspired by the likes of Gorky’s and Super Furry Animals and about a third of the album is sung in Welsh. ‘Wedi Blino’ boasts some excellently bleepy keyboard clusters, and ‘Cwympo’ is one of the more reflective and beautiful moments among the 12 tracks here, even if we have to confess we’re none the wiser about its meaning.
‘The Fear’ is possibly our favourite moment though, the best showcase for her ability to chuck in unexpected chords and melodic twists when you’re least expecting them.
‘Isle of Dogs’ is a rough diamond of a listen, but look beyond its rough edges and you’ll discover it’s a jewel all the same.