Releasing your debut single in the middle of a national lockdown is a pretty brave move – but if there’s one advantage, it does mean that National Treasure had the unparalleled opportunity to film the song’s video in deserted carparks, with lead-singer Mille standing out of the sunroof of a moving car. And it’s fitting, in a way, to have crafted a DIY pop-style video to fit this DIY pop gem, which conjures a mature, well-built and catchy sound that the band are referring to as “Classic cougar pop, with added mellotron”. To these ears, however, what the Bristol four piece have come up with is a hefty slice of indie/sophisti-pop, that belies its debut nature and its DIY origins.
The song, largely centred around Millie’s lyrics and vocals, commences with a C86-style shimmer of a synth riff, which swells throughout most of the running time, dovetailing with the backing vocal harmonies and the pacey rhythm of its drums. Lyrically, the song is written from a male perspective – its title and chorus being something of a double entendre – and subverts its otherwise upbeat sound by depicting a negative experience of love, that its frustrated artist narrator is largely at fault for creating. It’s another smart move, that keeps bringing the listener back whilst also marking out its author’s approach as one to watch. After a middle eight breakdown, around the halfway mark, the song builds back up – featuring a particularly effusive curse – before slamming into an absolutely searing guitar outro, giving it a delightfully AOR conclusion.
With lockdown starting to be lifted, it looks like National Treasure may have to look for other opportunities to make videos in future. But what won’t change will be the group’s ear for a hook, and their pop sensibilities. And, with their “class on a shoestring” ethos, the forthcoming EP The Good Light looks set to be a winner, come Autumn. Volvo, or no Volvo, NT look to be set to stay.