Archive | October, 2013

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Papernut Cambridge – Ink Run II

Posted on 31 October 2013 by Joe

Former Death in Vegas and Thrashing Doves man Ian Button has been better known to us over the last year or so as drummer and guitar effects chap with Rotifer.

Turns out he’s also been spending his time on a solo project under the name Papernut Cambridge. His forthcoming album Cambridge Nutflake (released on November 4th) features some  great guitar sounds as you’d expect from Button all behind his whispery Gallagher-esque vocals.

Here’s an alternate version of one of the album’s tracks Ink Run. The archive inspired video is by Darren Hayman, who also plays synths on the track.

To order the album (which also comes with an EP) visit here, or to buy  the digital version visit  iTunes.

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Sebastian Tellier – Confection

Sebastian Tellier – Confection

Posted on 31 October 2013 by Joe

Pivotal French artist Sebastian Tellier is a well-connected man. Mixing it amongst the landscape of French pop ever since his days touring with Air, he’s also previously been produced by Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Mr Oizo and DJ SebastiAn and represented France at Eurovision.

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For his sixth album, the cast is typically studded with talent with members of Phoenix lending a bass-picking hand and all-star producer Philippe Zdar (Phoenix, Cat Power and Beastie Boys) on mixing duties.

Tellier’s most famous moment so far has been 2005’s “La Ritournelle”, aided by an ingenious string arrangement from Emmanuel d’Orlando and remix treatments from a succession of big names. The song has become a cult classic. D’Orlando is back on board this time and his presence is notable.

‘Confection’ is largely a collection of short instrumentals. It could be a combination of about three film soundtracks, spliced together and shuffled across an album. Of these snapshots, some are piano-led and fully orchestrated, some have Spanish guitars and a contribution from Tony Allen’s stuttering drums; the sort of which drive along many a Fela Kuti jam. The final song “Le Delta Des Amours” sounds like it’s soundtracking scenes of a romantic western in which the protagonist is torn apart from his love.

Occasionally, the swathes of cinematic strings are joined by something more contemporary. The whirrings of “Hypnose” indicate a more modern, French influence; that of Daft Punk.

Only really on “The Waltz” is the consistency broken. Aptly it’s a waltz, though one played on the inside of a surrealistic computer game. Quite out of place on a largely classical LP.

And there is an exception to these instrumental pieces called “L’amour Naissant”; which does again have later instrumental variants. Its this song with its stab and swirl of strings and cascading piano line that recalls “La Ritournelle”. This is again thanks to the marked contribution of d’Orlando and Allen.

‘Confection’is said to be an album close to Tellier’s soul. He certainly has brought together his outlandish talents and those of his friends to deliver a sublimely produced album. Not recommended for those seeking a pop hook, it is however recommended for those wishing to drift away and bring visuals to these filmic scores.

7/10

By Matthew Nicholson

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Jagwar Ma – Thekla, Bristol, (October 25, 2013)

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Jagwar Ma – Thekla, Bristol, (October 25, 2013)

Posted on 30 October 2013 by Joe

For their final UK tour date Sydney Trio Jagwar Ma are treated to a packed house and an expectant crowd. The band’s bright sunshine pop, harking back to the Madchester baggy scene, has earned a solid following over the last six months, cemented by sets at major festivals such as Glastonbury and Latitude and regular airtime on stations including BBC 6 Music and Radio 1. Tonight the crowd urges them to come out, whooping long before they catch their first glimpse of the band.

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Lead guitarist and singer Gabriel Winterfield, mixer Jono Ma and bassist Jack Freeman amble onstage to muffled public service broadcasts and start with the loping, stoned-out What Love. Uncertainty features a bassline so deep that the stage equipment rattles audibly. The repetitive refrain ‘How can you look so gloomy, when you’re gloomy howling looks so good to me’ would make Happy Mondays proud.

Jagwar Ma have been typecast as being at the forefront of the recent baggy revival, and it is an image they are happy to cultivate. Winterfield is tonight sporting a Kangol bucket hat and retro Adidas trainers, a look made complete with his curtains haircut, and it is true that the band specialises in laid back dancefloor grooves with psychedelic leanings and lyrical minimalism. The Throw throbs muscularly and Winterfield is able to whip the crowd up with a combination of snake-hipped dancing and energetic bopping, with no audience member left standing still.

But it is clear the band’s influences stretch well beyond the Stone Roses. Jono Ma is particularly adept at cutting in rhythmic breakdowns, whether it be dubstep for What Love or hip hop beats for Man I Need. Come and Save Me and That Loneliness feature ’60s R’n’B inspired rhythms that would not sound out of place at the Temples gig at the same venue last night, and Four is neat dance-punk.

Jagwar Ma also betray the floppy limbed, stupefied stereotype of baggy by being highly competent and switched-on musicians. When Winterfield’s guitar string snaps on Man I Need, he is able to surge straight into a solo with a replacement guitar, thanks in no small part to the sterling efforts of the band’s roadie. When the set finishes the crowd implores them to return for an encore, which they duly do.

Thekla is the floating Bristol venue converted from an old cargo ship, and Winterfield introduces the final song, That Loneliness, by saying that they want to “rock the boat”. It is a sentiment that the crowd enjoys, as tonight, Jagwar Ma truly have rocked the boat.

By Conal Dougan

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Temples – Thekla, Bristol (October 23, 2013)

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Temples – Thekla, Bristol (October 23, 2013)

Posted on 29 October 2013 by Joe

Considering the universal acclaim heaped upon Australian quintet Tame Impala’s Lonerism of 2012 and the emergence of the likes of Toy and Hookworms, it appears that the music world is primed for a resurgence of rock psychedelia. Throw Kettering four- piece Temples into the revivalist mix and, alongside the aforementioned antipodeans, we have two extremely capable bands to lead us in this renaissance of kaleidoscopic sounds.

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First coming to the attention of Heavenly Records founder Jeff Barrett after the self-produced Youtube efforts of guitarist/singer James Bagshaw (picturesd above)  and bassist Thomas Warmsley, the group have since caught the ear of the music press and garnered praise from British rock’s old guard in the venerable forms of Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher.

As drummer Sam Toms’ thundering beat propels the band into opener ‘Sun Structures’ this reverence from two of British guitar music’s elder statesmen seems rather appropriate; Temples are so steeped in the past that one is not sure of having stepped aboard Bristol’s notorious nautical venue or into some paisley adorned time warp. The impressively voluminous mop of black curls upon Bagshaw’s head, combined with a long coat of scarlet fur, make the frontman almost eerily reminiscent of Marc Bolan while the 12 string jangle of his Rickenbacker during ‘Sand Dance’ bring forth evocations of The Byrds. Even Bagshaw’s Gretsch Country Gentleman, used alternately throughout, brings to mind Beatlemania era George Harrison.

Temples, however, are too good to be cast as mere copyists or gratuitous revivalists. After Bagshaw’s partial grumble that the near sell-out audience is being “way too quiet,” the crowd get more involved with proceedings during ‘Ankh.’ The song’s stomping grove and a chorus gilded by duel guitar string bends frees the hitherto unsure audience of its ambivalence and things start to move at the front. The post-chorus riff, favoured in synthesised form on the recorded version, comes forth in the shape of a tasty guitar riff from Bagshaw and it proves superior as a live performance.

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The crowd then really start to come alive; during second single ‘Colours To Life,’ some of the youngsters in the first few rows start being pushed and jostled into the foldback speakers at the front of the stage. A bouncer then enters into the melee and, despite being hugely outnumbered, it is a case of heavyset adulthood versus waif like youth and order is restored with little fuss. Containing hypnotic riffs of pure psychedelia and an accessible, anthemic chorus, the song displays a band on form and, despite their callow years, the young men from the Midlands certainly steer a tight musical ship.

While Temples are in possession of a precocious ability in regards to song-craft, it is with this musicianship that they are most impressive. Toms and Warmsley provide a solid rhythm section in the form of watertight grooves and keyboardist/guitarist Adam Smith alternates comfortably between instruments throughout. It is Warmsley who is perhaps the bonefide star of the show; physically resembling a young Bobby Gillespie, he moves restlessly in a straight back and forth line towards and away from his mic and he leaves no area of his fret board neglected as his inventive playing sees him effortlessly meander through the octaves.

Despite their youth and inexperience as a band in its nascent stages, the only moment of musical leakage is during new single ‘Keep In The Dark.’ Bearing a resemblance to Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant,’ the song sees Bagshaw vocally enter a couple of bars early at the final chorus but, with a wry smile, he instantly notices his mistake and adjusts accordingly.

Featuring a prominent 12 string guitar riff and reverbed echoing backing vocals, first single and career highlight thus far, ‘Shelter Song’ is the last track of the night and the 4 young men exit the stage having only entered it a mere 40 minutes and 8 songs earlier.

Stepping outside as I disembark from the Thekla, it is 2013 once more. While everything about Temples is so aligned with the past, their story has only just begun; if they continue to use the materials and musical lessons from yesterday to fashion such faithful and impressive recordings and live performance, they could be a band that very much belongs to the future.

Words by Scott Hammond, Pictures by Kevin McGough

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The Wave Pictures – City Forgiveness

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The Wave Pictures – City Forgiveness

Posted on 21 October 2013 by Joe

Travel broadens the mind, as the old adage dictates, and for those of artistic bent, it can also broaden the parameters of inspiration and result in a surge of profligate creativity. And so it was with The Wave Pictures’ David Tattersall who, after the band’s six week road trip touring the USA with Allo Darlin’ last year, wrote at least twenty songs in a “very jet-lagged and confused week.”

With clearly enough songs to justify this double album,  City Forgiveness is a testament to how experience garnered through peripatetic existence can excite the imagination while also highlighting the ‘patchiness’ that inevitably occurs when dealing with the concept of a double album.

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The crunchy riff that introduces opening track ‘All My Friends’ is the first hint at a departure to a more blues rock sound but the words “Once I dreamed I saw your face on a carton of milk/Once I dreamed I spilt the milk all down my shirt” are a familiar reminder as to the quirky Morrissey-esque absurdities of Tattersall’s lyricism.

Following track ‘For This Day,’ heralded in with a melodically bouncy guitar riff reminiscent of Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al,’ is a gorgeously wistful opus to the past and a highlight of Tattersall’s song-writing canon thus far; using his oft trusted predilection for minutiae (“Mum holds the ladder with a slippered foot”) and the recalling of his first conscious memory of running through “grass that has grown high above my head,” he captures a touchingly nostalgic ideal of childhood and early family life.

‘Missoula’ with its jaunty three chord shuffle is a pleasingly catchy two minutes of indie pop and, though it sounds as if the multiple declarations of ‘I Love You’ are aimed at the titular city in the US State of Montana, it captures the band in romantic mood. This outlook of romance is continued in the soothing ‘Whisky Bay.’ With its tiki style guitar and mellow rhythms, the music conjures up images of palm trees and tropical paradise while the lyrics “I love you more with each passing year,” are thematically redolent of Elvis Presley’s ‘Ku’uipo’ from Blue Hawaii.

While the slightly ominous minor chord strum of ‘Better To Have Loved’ places the listener on familiar terrain (it sounds similar to past Wave Pictures songs such as ‘Leave The Scene Behind’), the album has a myriad of blues rock grooves that sometimes feel as if they exist solely as a vehicle to showcase Tattersall’s considerable guitar playing talents. ‘Lisbon’ is at least as dense with guitar soloing as it is lyrics and drummer Jonny Helm and bassist Franic Rozycki lay down solid bluesy rhythms on ‘Chestnut’ and the more subdued ‘Yellow Roses’ to back Tattersall’s playing; by the time we get to ‘The Ropes’ it feels perhaps as if he is noodling for noodlings sake and, despite his undoubted skill as a guitarist, one wonders as to whether this style of music is conducive to bringing out the best in a group like The Wave Pictures.

The Wave Pictures' David Tattersall

The Wave Pictures’ David Tattersall

The album is unsurprisingly full of Tattersall’s usual linguistic whimsy, (the absurdity reaches its zenith in ‘Golden Syrup’- “I’m waiting for someone to take a bite out of my neck/I have become a nervous wreck/The furniture is made of liquorice like the little hairs growing on my arm) but he is at his best when under the employ of touching sentimentality; ‘Red Cloud Road (Part 2),’contains the sweet lyrical gesture of “Face it, if I had an aeroplane I would fly through the sky/I would write your name in mile high letters to better the blue sky with the mention of your presence.”

Final track ‘Like Smoke’ paints a bleak picture of a family funeral and the death of a grandfather but its pretty chorus and tasteful guitar chops make for a strong end to the album. The suggestion that “We will rise above the city like smoke,” is an perhaps an allusion to a destiny we all share and it manages to bring both a maudlin but strangely uplifting conclusion to this 19 song record.

City Forgiveness, while containing some of The Wave Pictures best songs, perhaps suffers from the inexorable challenge for consistency that any double album venture will entail. The nature of any 90 minute album will decree that, particularly in the digital age, listeners will pick and choose their favourite tracks and leave a considerable chunk of the others without attention. The Wave Pictures deserve kudos for trying though and, let’s face it, with The White Album, even popular music’s most prestigious songwriters couldn’t avoid the infernal dilemma of double album ‘patchiness.’

Rating: 7/10

By Scott Hammond

 

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McDermott’s 2 Hours – Anticlockwise

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McDermott’s 2 Hours – Anticlockwise

Posted on 18 October 2013 by Joe

Whenever I meet a fan of The Levellers I feel it’s my duty as a Brightonian to point out they were not the best folk rock band to emerge from my seaside hometown during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The best by some distance was McDermott’s 2 Hours. Formed by songwriter and guitarist Nick Burbridge this outfit were passionate, extremely talented and were quite simply the best Brighton live band during my formative years of gig going as a teenager.

Nick Burbridge

Nick Burbridge

Looking back over the history of McDermott’s it is a markedly different tale to that of The Levellers’, who went from strength to strength, adorning festival bills and the charts through much of the 1990s.

Meanwhile, McDermott’s, who were cited as a key influence by The Levellers, vanished from festival bills for much of that period as Burbridge focused on other arts projects, including playwriting. His musical career was also stymied by  depression, with Burbridge telling Folk World in 2004 how a relationship split,  parenting pressures and attempting to help his disabled brother’s battle with an uncaring care system led to a nervous breakdown.

In a 2012 interview with Brighton.co.uk he gave further hints as to how his life had been shaped by mental illness saying that his music:

“draws on the grit of personal experience: entanglement with mental illness, havoc wreaked by hard drugs and homelessness; sexual thirsts inappropriately met; the search for an abiding faith.”

A year on from that interview I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from The Levellers’ PR man telling me that Burbridge is back recording, releasing this 14 track career retrospective on their On The Fiddle label and with a new album out next year, 25 years since McDermott’s first album The Enemy Within. Burbridge has also signed a publishing deal with On The Fiddle.

I was also pleased to discover that rather than completely dropping off the musical radar he has spent much of the last decade recording albums, often with help from The Levellers, who are clearly still in awe of Burbridge. But although these releases were critically well received by the folk specialist media they were not commercial successes.

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So all these years on how do McDermott’s sound? Opener Dirty Davey, from The Enemy Within and covered by The Levellers on their self-titled 1993 album, has taken me straight back to the stages of Brighton of the late 1980s. It’s a classic up-tempo Irish folk track written by Burbridge but sounding like it was penned hundreds of years ago.

The tempo is maintained on second track Fox On the Run, a crowd pleasing sing along in the style of Richard Thompson and is taken up a notch further with Darkness and Sail, another from The Enemy Within.

After a 12 year break from recording , Burbridge return to the studio garnered three McDermott’s albums: World Turned Upside Down (2001), Claws and Wings (2003) and Disorder (2004), all recorded with members of The Levellers and with a schedule that could accomodate his endogenous depression.

The title track from World Turned Upside Down, an album which had the then trendy credit of McDermott’s v The Levellers, is far from contemporary musically and owes a lot to Pentangle and Fairport Convention with its intricate acoustic picking and monkish chants. It also displays more of an English folk feel than McDermott’s first album.

Anticlockwise artwork

Anticlockwise artwork

Other highlights on this compilation are the Claw and Wings track Song of a  Brother, a powerful and emotional song about his brother and his sense of helplessness regarding a care system wrecked by privitsation.

The Disorder tracks takes Burbridge further into the  English folk music mists of times, with fiddle, whistle and concertina on tracks such as Tod the Ranter and Black Sun (In Genoa).

McDermott’s next album, 2007’s Goodbye to the Madhouse was also released via The Levellers label but is more of return to the band’s Enemy Within sound of bass, drums with traditional instruments, with a strong nod to  Fairport Convention’s Liege and Leif. Molloy, River and Trickster are the three from this time featured here and are wise choices.  They all sound epic, yet intimate and at times musically very inventive, especially the intricate fiddle and lyrical interplay on Trickster.

Finally this compilation ends with two new tracks from McDermott’s forthcoming 2014 release, Besieged. These two tracks,  Erin Farewell and In Your Name,  take forward the Goodbye to the Madhouse sound but add another, perhaps inevitable, layer of maturity for Burbridge and his band.

It goes without saying that any fan of The Levellers ought to buy this compilation, but its also a worthy album for those who have been dismissive of folk rock in the past but want to add a piece of musical history to their collection. I also urge you to buy his and Tim Cotterill’s excellent 2012 acoustic album, Gathered.

Burbridge deserves a far higher profile in the history of UK folk music than he currently has, but for a variety of reasons I get the impression that is not an ambition he’s ever really aspired to.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

 

 

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Some that we missed

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Some that we missed

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Dorian

We try and get reviews up of all the best albums over yer, but sometimes we miss them on release, or just don’t get time to give them a review.  Here is a small selection of albums released earlier this year that deserve a mention and a place in your record collection.

Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

Texan band move to New York and make a classic sounding New York punk album, probably my favourite album of the year so far.

Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold

Alongside a sound that is equally in thrall to Sonic Youth and The Modern Lovers is a smattering of Pavement at their most Fall-obsessed. This is a noisy, snotty album and the 15 songs fly by with several bum notes but no duff tracks. This is actually the band’s second album, the first a cassette only release, but it sounds fresh like a debut album and features such an invigorating sound that the somewhat banal lyrics on some songs don’t matter at all.

10/10

Guided By Voices – The English Little League

It was inevitable that I’d fall behind on the many releases of Robert Pollard, and several others have come out or been announced since this latest Guided By Voices set hit the shelves.

Guided By Voices - English Little League

The shine has worn off the GBV reunion a little bit with four albums coming out in less than two years. That makes it hard to tell if this album isn’t quite as good, or if I’ve just had a little bit too much of a good thing. The thing is, even a not-quite-as-good GBV album is pretty great, and there are few bands around doing this kind of thing as well. The sound is a little harsher this time round, Wire spring to mind on occasion, and it is lighter on the whimsical side of Pollard on this occasion. Tobin Sprout is on excellent form and his three songs are, as always, a great counter-balance to his better known bandleader.

8/10

Fear of Men – Early Fragments

Early Fragments is a collection of singles and cassette releases by the Brighton based band, but manages to have a very cohesive feel.

Fear of Men - Early Fragments

Then band’s sound, sitting somewhere between early 90s shoegaze and the jangle pop of The Sundays isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but they do this stuff so well that I can forgive the obvious reference points. This isn’t a lyrically light and breezy album, singer Jess Weiss is laying here feelings on the line here. Musically it counters the rather morose lyrics with some bright and chiming guitars and lovely melodies. ‘Ritual Confession’ is a case in point and is a strong contender for prettiest song of the year.

8/10

Robert Pollard – Honey Locust Honky Tonk

This is Robert Pollards self-proclaimed country album, but aside from the name, cover and one song (‘I Killed a Man Who Looked Like You’) it would be hard to hear any strong country influences on this album.

Robert Pollard - Honey Locust Honky Tonk

Country or not, this set of 17 songs in 30 minutes is one of his best releases in years, and definitely his most consistent (even more so than the recent Guided By Voices releases). It is a great album from start to finish, but Pollard saves the best until the end of the record with a run of four songs that are as good as anything he has released in many years. He has several more albums on release this year, but I’d be surprised if any of them better this.

9/10

Cloud – Comfort Songs

Originality is an overrated virtue and the fact that I can hear a multitude of influences on Comfort Songs doesn’t make me like Cloud any less.

Cloud - Comfort Songs

Imagine Conor Oberst and Avi Buffalo jamming with the Flaming Lips and you’ll get some of the flavour of this very enjoyable album by the young Long Island band, Clouds. It sounds great, and there is no shortage of musical invention on show here and no shortage of instruments being played across the eleven songs. It is a long album, made up of long songs, and a little bit of editing might have helped but this is a very enjoyable recording. You can pick this up from Audio Antihero here.

8/10

Mogwai  – Les Revenants

Mogwai’s soundtrack for Les Revenants, the French TV series about the dead returning to haunt a small town, perfectly matches the show’s sense of foreboding.

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The listener already  knows bad things are going to happen from album opener and series theme tune Hungry Face onwards. But the music also shows that this is no ordinary zombie plot. The dead in Les Revenants have feelings too and this is perfectly formed in Mogwai’s brooding mix of piano, cello and percussion and tender glockenspiel. Considering the soundtrack was devised after Mogwai had only read a brief sysnopsis it shows how much series and soundtrack influenced each other.

9/10

Reviews by Dorian Rogers (except Les Revenants by Joe Lepper)

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Karl Smith – Kites

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Karl Smith – Kites

Posted on 15 October 2013 by Joe

While this is a debut solo album for Karl Smith, he is no musical novice having spent 12 years on and off since 1996 as one half of Australian folk pop act Sodastream.

Recorded in his basement while preparing for fatherhood, the PR blurb tells us that “Kites captures the heady excitement, nervous energy and intermittent panic of the time.” The reality for me though is that Kites is frustratingly close to being a fantastic album  but suffers from a lack of direction. Perhaps this “heady excitement” was counterproductive to the recording process rather than beneficial?

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The result is that most tracks sound uneven and half worked out, with genres and styles changing disconcertingly within songs. Segments of tracks also outlast their welcome and would have been rightly cut short by a savvy producer.

Take opener After Mr Morrison and its dazzling, wonderful horn beginning that sounds like a soulful colliery band has been drafted in.  It is fantastic but then half way through the track goes all silly, with whirly gig organ popping in to ruin the excellent mood Smith has created.

The album’s centrepiece track Hang Our Bodies suffers the same fate. A beautiful first part with acoustic guitar ruined by some kind of odd organ mess. With his Daniel Bejar-esue vocals this ends up sounding like the Destroyer man has been invited to a fairground with Smith and is hating every minute of it.

As the album draws to a close Smith thankfully reins in these uneven, messy arrangements and luckily this makes the final few tracks among the best. I Know Julia has an odd time signature but its combination of piano and violin works well. Voices is a wonderful cello instrumental and final track Everything is reassuringly simple with piano and guitar and provides a satisfying close.

This is one of those reviews where I hope my criticisms are taken constructively. Artists can be prickly beasts but I write this review because I like what he’s trying to achieve and sense of ambition. However, I’m left wondering how fantastic this album could have been with a stronger, guiding hand.  In its current form it just seems like a bit of a vanity project that his label Fortuna Pop should have checked out more thoroughly before agreeing to release.

5/10

by Joe Lepper

 

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Frankie Rose – Herein Wild

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Frankie Rose – Herein Wild

Posted on 14 October 2013 by Joe

Frankie Rose knows how to start an album. The lush intro of the title track of previous album Interstellar opened up the new, pop savv Frankie Rose to the public and heralded a phenomenal debut album of electric guitar pop. Similarly for You For Me, the opener on  her follow up Herein Wild, it starts powerfully with stomping guitars.

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But while HereinWild is a very good album, it’s not great like Interstellar. You For Me has stomp and passion but second track Sorrow can’t hold a candle to Interstellar’s melodies.

Nevertheless there are still some fine tracks on Herein Wild. Into Blue is a good pop song and Depths, with its ’80s, goth bass is another high point, reminiscent of  the wonderful precursor to Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate.

Cliffs As High goes a little bit Hollywood, with her vocals and piano draped in glamourous strings, but still works well.

Among other highlights is Minor Times, which is another great pop tune. I found though that whereas Interstellar brought out her excellent guitar playing more this is far to low in Herein Wild’s mix. Minor Times especially would have really benefited from more of her distinct style of guitar playing. Instead it only makes fleeting visits on tracks, such as the intro and parts of penultimate track Street of Dreams.

Another track of note is Heaven, which is dark and scary in comparison to her lighter tunes and is probably the most effective within Herein Wild’s anti-guitar production. This track could perhaps be the shape of things to come from future releases if she is to continue to hide her 1980s guitar twang. Such a shame that the opening stomping guitars were not to be replicated elsewhere on the album. Great opening all the same though.

7/10

by Joe Lepper

 

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Euros Childs – Situation Comedy

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Euros Childs – Situation Comedy

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Joe

Tirelessly inventive west Welsh weirdo Euros Childs gives another comic turn with half an hour’s primetime S4C entertainment. Now on his sixth solo album, Childs, the former driving force of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, always provides a combination of pleasingly tuneful ditties combined with wig-out base insanity (for the uninitiated, Childs is a bilingual Ben Folds on magic mushrooms).

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Situation Comedy is much closer to the poppy upbeat work of last year’s Summer Special than his earlier, darker solo efforts. Gorky’s fanboys (like myself) should think Patio Song, rather than Blood Chant. I’ve never been all that fussed about Childs’ solo work, but Situation Comedy has converted me – and I’ve been ploughing through his back-catalogue as a result.

Opener Tete a Tete is the standout tune and it has a lovely, self-deprecatingly insane Sledgehammer-ish video, which will give you a flavour of the man.

Good Time Baby (Talk To Me) is a Roxy Music-ish tune – all parping saxophones and 70s guitars – and Euros Childs channels the spirit of Brian Ferry, oozing sexiness. Tina Said, is a perfect piece of Belle and Sebastian-like jangle-pop, but the ironic mawkishness of country track, Daddy’s Girl, falls flat.

Avon Lady, Ooh La Oona and Second Home Blues are the most obviously influenced by situation comedies – all character-driven stories in the vein of Miss Trudy (albeit a little less mental). In fact, this album might better be titled Sketch Show.

But if Situation Comedy were an actual situation comedy it would be the tenth series of one for which I used to feel great fondness, but with some of the favourite characters gone. Next time, I’d like more songs in Welsh. More hard edge. More weirdness. There are hints of hippyish nonsense here, but not enough to make it an outstanding piece of work.

Despite that, I feel this is Childs’ best solo album yet. And if you’re umm-ing and ah-ing about whether to commit, Child’s National Elf label is offering the album on a “pay-what-you can” download option.

7/10

by Rob Finch

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