The lineup: Sam McGarrigle (vocals, music).
The background: This is great. Apologies for giving away the punchline, but it is. Or rather, he is, and we say "he" though he sounds like a girl, always a favourite of ours. He is Sam McGarrigle, a Brighton boy, barely out of his teens, who used to be in a band called Hocus Tocus and is now operating as a UK alternative to all those solipsistic Stateside synth kids (Perfume Genius, Idiot Glee, Porcelain Raft) that we've been banging on about these last couple of years. He's only just started writing on his own, and already he's amassed a mini-album's worth of tracks, titled the Teen Jamz EP, which you can buy from his Bandcamp page. There is one song that predates this latest material, called Waiting for You, which apparently was his attempt to evoke the pop-funk of his heroes Prince, Bowie and Michael Jackson, but to us it sounds more like some long-forgotten 80s MTV hit sung by a ghostly girl.
Ghostly? This is a homegrown variant on spectral, post-Ariel Pink static-drenched pop, and it presents our hero sat at his laptop, half-asleep, with one ear cocked to a radio or TV through the wall that is playing endless old tunes from pop's second golden age (1976-1984). The EP opens with We're Awake Tonight, featuring the famous riff from ELO's Mr Blue Sky, over which McGarrigle applies his high, camp (or high-camp) or simply effeminate vocal. It's really hard to find actual precedents for the sound blend he's achieved here: ELO meets glam, then fed through a hypnagogic filter. Not so much shock of the new as shock of the "ooh!". Teen Jamz is early rock'n'roll as re-envisaged by a 21st-century computer kid with the whole history of everything – and the means to reproduce it – at his disposal. Sweetest Touch (download it free here) has a Nirvana-esque bassline and a guitar sound that provides the missing link between glitter-rock and grunge. Can't Ignore My Heart finds McGarrigle tortured by an eternal quandary ("I wish that I was by myself ... I get scared when I'm by myself") over lo-fi drums and a lovely synth twinkle. The EP's closing track, Dream Gurl, is a parody of (or more likely a homage to) a lighters-aloft rock ballad with yet more snatches of twisted lyricism. There are three extra tracks, if you buy the EP, that we've yet to hear but the titles alone are tantalising: there's PYT (a cover of the Jackson song?), Sick (always a great word to have in a pop song) and Yesterdays (maybe not so much). We're going to buy it right now.
The buzz: "Recalling the pop sensibility of ELO, the grunge riffs of early Nirvana, the carefree adolescence of Loser-era Beck and the lo-fi production of Ariel Pink" – thesoundsofsweetnothing.tumblr.com.
The truth: It's an ultra-vivid dream of a version of perfect pop, Bolan's glam boogie recalled via Davy Henderson's Win and put through an Ariel Pink filter.
Most likely to: Be magical.
Least likely to: Be gross.
What to buy: The Teen Jamz EP is released by the Sounds of Sweet Nothing on 8 August.
File next to: T-Rex, Nirvana, Porcelain Raft, Win.
Friday's new band: Paul Thomas Saunders.