What makes Slice of Our City, the debut album by Half Sports, one of the most soul-cheering albums of this past summer is the sheer exuberence with which the band attack their ragged, lo-fi indie melodies. I’ve increasingly found myself coming to the conclusion that Primal Scream’s Sonic Flower Groove is the worst thing to have ever happened to indie, setting the template for all subsequent peddlers of stultifyingly reverent, emotionally blank, dreary, self-absorbed Byrds pastiches. Half Sports throw that shit out of the window, plunging into every song all booming drums, joyous vocals and energetic major chords, while never losing sight of the essential charm of melodic 1980s guitar pop. In fact, in many ways Half Sports are closer to the spirit of that era than many of their contemporaries, with Slice of Our City, like Japanese indie contemporaries Teen Runnings, remembering and retaining a connection to indiepop’s roots in punk and powerpop, which it does largely through propulsive rhythms that recall elements of The Soft Boys in places. The band cite The Stone Roses as a key influence, and there are echoes of John Squire’s chiming Rickenbacker guitar lines here, but where Brown, Squire & co. were all about precision and poise in their recordings, Half Sports are more about rock’n’roll energy. In this sense, they have more in common with The Mighty Lemon Drops, falling somewhere between the rough-edged early material like Like an Angel and the straight “big music” rock thrills of 1989’s Laughter. One of the Japanese indie albums of the year.