Kind of eponymous album from East London/Essex weird folk duo, The Cold Spell. I say kind of because, for those of you not fluent in morse, those dots and dashes spell the band's name. Eccentric songs with a traditional soul made from acoustic guitars, drum machines, and a The Wicker Man-ish sense of unease.
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For all intents and purposes of this blurb, this record will be referred to as ‘Morse Eponymous’. Using the famous code system to rename themselves ‘.... . / -.-. --- .-.. -.. / ... .--. . .-.. .-.. …’, this London ‘n’ Essex out-of-pop outfit immediately land in my bad books, but in that kind of way where I’m secretly proud of their trash behaviour. Luckily, their music communicates in the very same oddities, so it feels at least thematically earned: a band of folk saboteurs adding electronics, squeaks and fragment melodies to their cauldron, they’d be lucky to muster up a semblance of a structure of a song.
Except like, they do. ‘Morse Eponymous’ may warp and wonder, all smirk and smug, but the Cold Spells create lovely, lilting songs amidst the cunning. “Wooden Horse” is a lovely track of whirring, upward-swinging melodies next to downtrodden chords and melancholy lyrics about dejection -- “If my shadow is beaten down / and driven out of this poncy town”, Michael Farmer wonders in a world that can’t quite finalise its sinister demands. “Roll Me Over” is made up of components that shouldn’t work -- one twinkling oscillation working against the rhythms of the beat behind it, faraway from the bedroom homeliness of the acoustic picks hiding in the backdrop. You can get close, but never familiar, the song steering between all sorts of Really Daft and mundanely no-nonsense.
I don’t know who exactly to appeal this one to: Robyn Hitchcock stans? Animal Collective nerds? Flying Nun aficionados? Do people still think Neutral Milk Hotel were good? Whatever the case, this here ‘Morse Eponymous’ record is absolutely mind-boggling without ever really endearing you to think so. For all its weirdness, it lets the sad lil’ hooks capture your imagination and empathy. An excellent little record off the kilter of the indie pop mantlepiece.
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- - .... . / -.-. --- .-.. -.. / ... .--. . .-.. .-.. ... by The Cold Spells
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