The new look VM re-announce themselves 

The Virginmarys problem (if that is the right word) is that of all the bands that are hard to quantify, they might be the most tricky.

MV has long been a fan, but they’ve always been outsiders. Maybe that suited them with the small town of Macclesfield and not Manchester, just to the North, being their home? Whatever, they’ve always been a little too indie for the full on rockers, while the indie kids in the tight jeans were always too busy devouring whatever NME tell them to to give them the mainstream success they deserved.

Certainly, MV speaks from experience that the first time we saw them live – way before MV existed in fact – we were a long way from home and there wasn’t a black t-shirt to be seen.

“Sitting Ducks” will do little to alter that perception, but is further proof that The Virginmarys couldn’t give two shits.

Almost like a rebirth for them, given that after last years absolutely brilliant “Divides” record bass player Matt left and they are no longer with Spinefarm Records, the four tracks here show a different side to the now two piece.

However, once you are over the initial shock that the opening title track is a glammed-up stomper with an electro side, you feel yourself thinking “you know what? That works.”

Similarly there is a pulsing urgency to “Sweet Loretta” (a previous Classic Rock singles club winner) that belongs more to the nightclub than the gig, but its slamming chorus which has echoes of Stereophonics, ensures that this is a thing of class.

“Through The Sky” in many ways is the bridge-builder between the old and the new. It kicks in with the same type of riff that Ally Dickaty has made his own over the years, but this time its augmented with synth, almost because it can be in this brave new world.

The more stripped down and reflective “Sleep” which ends this here, has more do with bands like The Verve than anything rock n roll, but possesses a big enough sound to suggest that The Virginmary’s are still dreaming.

A bold move by a band who deserves to be whatever they want to be, whether “Sitting Ducks” is a one off trip or heralds the start of a brand new journey, only Ally and Danny Dolan know. Whatever, it is a fine – and interesting – start.

Rating 7/10