THE HERMIT CRABS: Saw You Dancing [Matinée]

Vintage photograph on the album cover? Check. Trebly, lovesick melodies sharp enough to rip a cardigan sweater? Check. Clever, library-assistant-baiting lyrics such as “I will be de Beauvoir, if you’ll be my Sartre”? Double-check. Needless to say, Scotland’s Hermit Crabs leave no page of their country’s folk/pop fakebook un-turned. But for those frustrated by more than a year with no new music from Belle And Sebastian or Camera Obscura, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sweet ballad “Closet Fan” finds guitarist Melanie Whittle sighing about punk rock while confessing a secret love, and “Bad Timing,” with its driving beat and tastefully grinding violin, is about as close to rocking out as the Hermit Crabs are likely to get. The quartet’s jangle-pop pedigree is fairly impeccable, with a guest spot from original Teenage Fanclub drummer (and Camera Obscura manager) Francis Macdonald, and the 10 bite-sized tracks on Saw You Dancing breeze by with such ease that it’s tough to find much fault. But it’s equally difficult to get terribly excited. []

—Chris Barton