Twee runaways The Wave Pictures have written a good getaway tune or two in their time, and a few great love songs. They continue their foray into unconventional indie pop with the impressively titled Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, which the band co-wrote with Billy Childish. Lots of the usual show-boating, grinning choruses and strange diversions can be expected.
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- Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon by The Wave Pictures
Up until now, I've always been a little confused by The Wave Pictures. In part because of their frustrating inconsistency as a relatively prolific band that fluctuate between genius and mediocre. What's more: are they twee? blues? indie pop? a mixture of all three? I'm just not really sure what they are.
Of course, it’s not a bad thing that with every other album comes another disparate influence, and since when was it compulsory to define your music with one single label anyway? Singer David Tattersall’s doomed provincial romanticism is often lazily compared to Morrissey’s witty lyrical deftness, while his sophisti-pop delivery has seen countless comparisons with Suede’s Brett Anderson. There’s no point in assigning categories to this band, though, because their influences are all over the place – from jazz to New Wave, Ornette Colman and Chuck Berry - but with their 14th studio album, the marvellously titled Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon, their vision is a little clearer.
It also completely disregards any musical likeness with British rock, as their affinity for American music is even more palpable than ever: the rough textured, angular (yes- that word that EVERY journo uses to describe anything remotely post-punk sounding) guitar tinges of Television has always been a detectable aspect, but it’s even more distinct here, particularly on ‘Fake Fox Fur Pillowcase’ where Tattersall’s tremulous vocals share an eerie likeness with Tom Verlaine's, while the lengthy, squalling guitar solo isn't particularly something new from the band, but it’s got a strong whiff of Marquee Moon about it.
Elsewhere, Richman is typically lyrically impressive, and it's all a little bit more rugged and punk than previous efforts, no doubt thanks to Billy Childish’s contributions on production. Long gone are any twee connotations. In all, then - it's their most consistent, enjoyable and perhaps accomplished LP to date.
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