The Wave Pictures, up until now, have been a somewhat frustrating band. This Loughborough outfit ought to be the toast of Leicestershire, and the only reason they’re not is because they are so agonisingly inconsistent. Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, however, sees them striking great fountains of oil in their own backyard, and it is difficult not to equate this to the fact that it was recorded with the help of the band’s all time hero, Billy Childish.
Beginning with the terrific title track, frontman David Tattersall is clearly attempting to adopt the vocal style of Tom Verlaine but instead ends up sounding like Art Brut‘s Eddie Argos with a fit of the giggles. This is no bad thing though and the result is tremendous fun, as is ‘I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me)’, both culminating in Tattersall’s signature garage guitar squall.
With a voice like someone finally escaping puberty though, it is difficult to effectively convey what appear to be the “deeper” songs, and ‘At Dusk, You Took Down The Blinds’ suffers for it. It starts off nicely enough, with tremolo guitar that is oddly reminiscent of Gene Pitney‘s ’24 Hours From Tulsa’, but is otherwise as exciting as a Bill Turnbull placemat. Thankfully ‘All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot’ restores parity with a melody that could easily have been penned by David Gedge in his band’s late eighties heyday.
Perhaps the centrepiece of the album though, is a pair of Creedence Clearwater Revival covers; ‘Sinister Purpose’, a resolutely spirited take on the original and the quite wonderful harmonica driven ‘Green River’, which seems to invigorate the band to such a degree that three of the best tracks are saved for the final third.
‘Fake Fox Fur Pillowcase’ contains some endearingly absurd lyrics (“I look like a giraffe with a lopsided face”), “We Fell Asleep In The Blue Tent” features a ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ Rainbow type backbeat and female backing vocals which have a naiveté that place the band in Moldy Peaches territory, then ‘The Fire Alarm’ bursts in with a thrilling, pounding rhythm and a gloriously repetitive chorus that is difficult to shake from your head. It’s quite possibly the strongest track here and the ballsy ‘Pea Green Coat’ closes proceedings to similar effect.
They’re still not perfect the Wave PICTURES, but the truth is, this is part of their charm, and I’m not sure I’d ever WANT them to be perfect. Childish’s tenacious influence though has helped them to craft what is undoubtedly their finest long player to date.