THE DAUNTLESS ELITE - Graft (Bombed Out Records / Plan-it-X)

First things first: go to the Bombed Out Records website (www.bombedout.com) and look at the cover of this album. Take a few seconds to look at it, have a Mallrats-esque 'Sailboat' moment and then realise that it is the best artwork you have seen for years.

Anyway, The Dauntless Elite, featuring ex-members of Joe Ninety and Fig 4.0 (FIG HARD: FOUR POINT ZERO. Sorry), are a band I have enjoyed live but wasn't 100% sure about their recorded output, aside from the excellent "I Am Ninja, My Life Is Lonely and Difficult" from the split with Jets vs Sharks which is on this album in all it's re-recorded glory. The good news is that they've managed to write a collection of songs that are mostly just as good as that.

Opener "Running Battle" is the cousin of the afforementioned "Ninja...", all anthemic and memorable after one listen. "Ordinary Days" is pure Joe Ninety, and "I Can Move If Funk Is Happening" is a great stompy number even if it does lift a Dillinger Four riff (steal from the best!).

Current favourites are "Shilling" and "Byte Sighs" which bring equal amounts of melodic and punk to the table without sounding tired or formulaic. The only song which doesn't really hit the spot is "It Takes A Ship To Sail" which is a clumsy attempt at a slower song.

Teh l33t (pwned!) have done well here though, and I am looking forward to seeing them at Out of Spite (and Joe Ninety and Tatako, but not Kayako Saeki or Fig 4.0 as they aren't playing [You think that's all of the ex-bands listed there? You missed Homebrew and Tinker's Rucksack. Get out of punx - Ed]). Well worth anyone's time, especially if that anyone likes upbeat and tuneful punk rock. Cheers!