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8/10 Clinton Staff review, 05 August 2011
I've been distracted slightly from reviewing this record by the arrival of FourFourTwo's Season Preview 2011/12 magazine in the office. Not long now, lads. Good to see Peter Reid still plying his trade as boss of League Two Plymouth Argyle. Anyway back to the "music". Well not quite yet. Apparently there is a graffiti artist in Leeds who goes round adding quote marks around shop signs for example 'Try our new delicious "chicken"' or '"Shoes" half price' etc, etc. Hilarious. Anyway a quick thumb through my old "reviews" marks this as a band I was told at the time were to be the next big thing, yet despite its obvious Jesus and Mary Chain, Mazzy Star, My Morning Jacket vibe I couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed. The album starts out a little slow sounding like Jesus and Mary Chain playing Cowboy Junkies 'Trinity Sessions' underwater but as it wears on you start succumbing to their bleary eyed worldview and there are some marvellous moments to behold. Similar to the likes of Dirty Beaches they take their cue from a lost kind of '50s rockabilly, swathing everything in reverb and seemingly making the whole thing sound as shit as possible. This works really well on tracks like 'Easy' and 'Voices' which have a mysterious clouded atmosphere and the instrumentation backs away occasionally to leave the bass thumping away. They don't really veer from this sound although the fog lifts at times which could be frustrating depending on your ability to listen to very lo-fidelity music. They are at their best when keeping it simple. 'Surface' is a real standout sounding like 'I could Live in Hope'-era Low recorded in a lawnmower. It's tempting to lump these lot in with the hoards of other lo fidelity worshippers currently re-creating music from the past decades and skewing it through various tubes until it sounds like the worst thing ever recorded...it's just trying to work out whether the recording technique is by accident or design, ie. it's very easy to cover up a lack of songwriting nous in a barrage of detritus.
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