Proper Ornaments - Foxhole (Tough Love Records)

Proper Ornaments – Foxhole (Tough Love Records)

Listening to Proper Ornaments, it’s hard not to draw the conclusion that they probably came up with the name by staring out at their motionless audience, and turning to each other, incredulously, saying “They’re not moving! Not even slightly! Proper ornaments they are!

This is not to suggest that the band is in any way dull, but if you’re a late night, long haul lorry driver travelling wearily on the motorway, let’s just say that Foxhole is probably not advisable as your musical companion…

It is the second full length release from this ‘supergroup’, if you can indeed call them that, comprising as it does James Hoare from Ultimate Painting and Veronica Falls, as well as Max Oscarnold from Toy. You might be expecting, therefore, given Proper Ornaments’ heritage, a melodic wall of feedback and distortion ad infinitum. Wrong. This is pretty much the bride stripped bare. An easy listening aural assault akin to The Jesus And Mary Chain if you confiscated their pedals and forced them to play impromptu in the lobby.

Just in case you were wondering, incidentally, that album title has little to nothing to do with the Television track of the same name. No, Proper Ornaments tread a far breezier path, often feeling how you’d expect Blur (in the early days) to sound if they’d tried their hand at dreamy slacker pop. It’s not always that way though; ‘Back Pages 2‘ suggests less of the Dylan/Byrds influence than its name indicates and more of an affinity with the likes of Teenage Fanclub. Once you get to ‘Memories‘, the Albarn comparisons become more immediate, but always, ALWAYS implying that band’s more low-key sojourns. Imagine ‘This Is A Low‘ if Kevin Tihista had produced it and that should give you some idea how it sounds. A fair chunk of Foxhole, too, could be compared to the pre-Britpop bands of the early 1990s, such as, say, The High or The Auteurs (‘Just A Dream‘ could easily have slotted on to the latter’s classic 1993 album New Wave).

Clearly then, Foxhole is unlikely to blow anybody away, but then, I suspect it was never meant to. This is merely an agreeable set of toe tappers likely to find favour with fans of bands like Real Estate. Plus, if you’re a teenager about to embark on your annual family holiday, and are looking to find something to play in the car, it’s equally unlikely to upset your mum too much.

Highlights are ‘1969‘ (no, not that one) and ‘I Know You Know‘, both of which sound like early Primal Scream, but really, it’s all much of a muchness. Not that it all sounds the same or anything, but it is, in essence, just a 40 minute journey of extreme calm.

Foxhole is released on 13th January 2017 through Tough Love Records.

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.