Vinyl LP £13.99
180g vinyl LP on Pillowscars.
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The joy….the utter joy of this job is picking up a record not having the faintest clue of what it might be then from the moment the needle hits the record just knowing that this was made especially for you.
The harder bit is then trying to express that feeling in words so that other people can take advantage of these little moments of serendipity. The first thing you hear are gorgeously thick, chunky guitars recorded with the needle way into the red. They start picking out the most unusual of melodies and are joined by a drummer who has obviously been told to simply play random fills and not to worry about such standard things as a back beat. If I could pin them to a city I’d say Chicago (though they are actually from San Jose). In come some vocals, slightly emo, slightly Modest Mouse/Dismemberment Plan, the track disintegrates back into itself and to its acoustics which by now sound crestfallen. The track is called ‘Bunny’ - it's tremendous.
The next one - ‘No More Like That’ - catches light with the same beautifully double/triple track acoustics. The vocals this time are more melancholic, like those of Elliot Smith or those in such interesting bands as America's Very Secretary. But ‘Birds’ is where I exploded. Its full of wintery beauty, led by a fantastically chewy guitar part. Drums pound away whilst mysterious vocals wander in and out of the mix. This is fantastically inventive indie rock. Although the band reference such 90s wanderers as Bedhead, early Sebadoh and The Sea and Cake they add in an impressive sweep of early Elliott Smith pathos and the kind of blissful sonic experimentalism that the likes of Animal Collective have used to move the whole scene forward.
Imagine those early Smith albums played by Chicago’s finest musicians of the era and recorded by Albini and you get somewhere close. Closer ‘Modulator Hustle’ is a tremendous, circular piece of plucked acoustic / drum machine joy. Then, wilful vocals come in and it just gets better. It's fantastically recorded throughout. Very few albums sound this great - and according to the press release they did it all on 4 track. It also states that the main man behind this was in the screamo/post hardcore Mohinder and low-fi slowcorers Duster. Truly a mystery but this really is a great record and is deserving of a lorry load of attention.
10/10 James McKenzie 20th May 2016
Maybe my favourite record of the last couple of years. Inspired by and harking back (in spirit at least) to a golden period in American alternative music . Exsisting under the radar and with echoes of the late Elliott Smith scattered throughout, the album pays tribute in the best possible way to a not long forgotten era when a needle in the red and an ear for a melody was all it took to keep us (now grown up) kids happy.
A future classic in the waiting.
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