reviews april 2008

Dean & Britta, White Horses (Sonic Cathedral) 7”
Echoing and wistful reading of what is very possibly the greatest TV theme song ever. Frankly, the forty year old original is perfection and cannot be equalled, but this is a good effort at providing an update for those too young to know what they’ve missed. (Laurence)

The Bobby McGee’s, S’Amuser Com de Fous (Cherryade) 7”
Great joy abounds! My delight is unconfined as I excitedly stop strangers in the street and breathlessly inform them that there is a second Bobby McGee’s record in the world, the bewildered reactions only demonstrate that the town is full of fools. This release exhibits greater instrumental confidence, with saxophone and wind supplementing the core ukele and bass accompaniement. Thankfully what remains constant is the wayward perceptiveness, awkward romanticism, and uncomfortable humanity that make this lot one of the best bands there are right now. I can even forgive them that inappropriate apostrophe. (Laurence)

Arthur and Martha, Autovia (Happy Robots) 7”
Shining and heroic retro-futurism that brings to mind OMD and Pet Shop Boys at their best, bubbling and melodic elecro-pop from promising practitioners. (Laurence)

Directorsound, Leaving The Moors (Rusted Rail) 3” CDR
A small treasure in a hand-made sleeve. Melancholic nostalgia, ungainly romanticism: an oddly beautiful collection. Remember that day long ago? When we were caught by a sudden downpour amidst the sultry sunshine and sheltered under the trees, we listened to raindrops falling upon leaves and laughed – knowing that all too soon the summer would be gone and become nothing more than a memory. Now the blurred imprints are somehow held upon a shiny magic-disc, put there by an unknown dream weaver. (Laurence)

-a+m/Spoono, Split cdr (Woodland Recordings) CDR
Another lovingly constructed package from this label. This one highlights two artists/bands that really know how to play a guitar without letting this get in the way of the music, a trick that many a fretboard wizard would do well to remember. In this case they each alternate, giving us two tracks each before joining together for a tour-de-force finale. Spoono’s new to me and shows an inclination to add the occasional effect to his clever compositions whilst –a+m are a duo who’ve previously impressed with their intricate string constructions. So far, so very good. It’s the fifth and final piece (Care And Repair) that takes you stratospheric when these two forces combine for a celestial train journey through the clouds to a gentle, breathless arrival at some far flung destination. This was one of a fiercely limited edition; thankfully the label has seen the sense of a re-issue. (Laurence)

Mid West Blues, Burnside (Woodland Recordings) CDR
So there you are, having politely accepted an invitation you sit stiffly in a respectably unremarkable front room whilst your host places a tray on the table and pours you a cuppa from a well used teapot. Then he plonks himself on an old settee and picks at a guitar whilst you sip some really rather nice tea. You have another cup, he plays some more tunes – it’s as if there’s something else besides tea in the pot. Soon your buddy is stomping his bare foot on the wooden floor and a-hollerin’ some good ole blues and you have another swig of ‘shine from the bottle before doing a boogie around the shack with all the neighbours who’ve come on over for the impromptu party. You’ll certainly accept another invitation to vist. (Laurence)

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