Neglecting my single reviewing duties of late, a teetering stack of CDs has built-up which now needs addressing, hence this appropriately entitled round up.
Collated together in a ramshackle manner from over the summer, this quintet of releases features a real mix of esoteric stoner-rock, electro-pop and waltzing balladry. So without further ado, lets crack on…..
We shall begin proceedings with the Kenneth Anger directs Howling Bells psychedelic dirge of the Brighton-based, bikers on acid outfit, Dark Horses. Former “track of the day” on this very site, their composed in the ether single, ‘Radio’ (Last Gang Records) is a Gothic shoe-gazing sonnet on loss and forlorn.
Lead singer Lisa Elle swoons like a sullen vampiric Dusty Springfield as the guys create a tampered wall of vaporous sound, reminiscent of The Black RebelMotorcycle Club, which it appears isn’t exactly a coincidence, as the bands Robert Levon is featured on the singles moiety second act, Radio Offshore. Responding to Elle’s calling, Levon despairingly pines over a Mogadon induced version of The Raveonettes backing track. Despite the art-y pretensions and dungeon atmospheric chain dragging, the Dark Horses have made a rather diaphanous and hypnotically catchy morose-pop record.
Pulling us out of the séance, the earthy folktronica tones of David Lawrie send us to an entirely different plain. As the appellate tagline suggests, “Composing in old York and New York”, Lawrie uses the traditional elements of classical with a mix of, soothing, electronica to craft heartwarming paeans like this adroit and beatific number, ‘Over, Under’; taken from his most recent LP, Dorothea’s Boat.
The trembled vocal and mandolin chamber-dub original treads a fine spirited line between eulogy and romantic declaration; Lawrie layering sophisticated triggers and loops together for a sublime woodland score.
Two additional versions subtly strip away the textures and instrumentation from their scion. The First, Second, Third World Live variant features a charmingly odd didgeridoo beatbox accompaniment, whilst Lawrie’s fraught and tenderly pranged vocals are – apart from a choral synth – uninterrupted on the final interpretation.
Relatively obscured in the vast expanses of the Internets musical wilderness, David Lawrie remains a rare find and treat.
On a similar wavelength is the latest melancholic, tearful, ode from Edinburgh’s existentialist alluded, Meursault. Taken from their third album, Something ForThe Weakened, the plaintive single, ‘Flittin’’ (Song, By Toad Records), is a sad tempered anthem by a Caledonian sounding Arcade Fire.
Missing the usual array of samplers and synths, Neil Pennycock’s brood opt for an intricate soundtrack of attentive strings, piano and resonating acoustic guitars. The yearning reverence of the accompanying Piano Version is starkly emotive; our protagonist outdoor dotted lyrics sigh and crow resignation over a minimal, swimming tide of the oblique.
A staple favourite in their live set for quite a while, the recorded Flittin’ may just prove to be the Scot’s best record yet.
Without the Lizards the electro soul front man, Eugene McGuinness is once again returning to solo duties with his third album, The Invitation To TheVoyage, and leading single, ‘Harlequinade’ (Domino) – a reference to the principle parts played in the pantomimes of a bygone age by the characters of the clown and harlequin.
McGuinness nails it on this glitter-pop propelled dynamo of a dance floor hit, which despite its obvious commercial bent still unfurls some modest surprises after repeated plays. Menacing bass lines mix it with 80s horn sections and stabbing cellos to create the right retro feel and fit.
Ending on a sour note, John Cale’s woeful effort, ‘I Wanna Talk 2 U’ (Double Six Records) is a real letdown.
Former pillar of the artfully agit-avant-garde, and dirge high priests, The Velvet Underground, Cale’s – mostly – illustrious career includes countless collaborations and important recordings. Here he attaches himself to Danger Mouse (unfortunately the producer not the kids favorite rodent super spy) for the upcoming Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood LP, of which this is the preceding single. Though a worthy and revered producer, Danger Mouse hasn’t exactly set the music world alight since those heady days with Cee-Lo (Gnarls Barkly) and MF Doom (DangerDoom), his interaction on this particular project hardly a career highlight.
From the ill-at-ease text speak title to the instantly forgettable tune; Cale’s choppy guitar strains and lyrically vague postulations seem pointlessly redundant. The quality and spark on albums such as HoboSapiens and blackAcetate seem such distant memories.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.