‘Yes, we have no bananas’ as the old song goes. Well let me tell you, Malcolm Middleton does, not only are there two on the front cover of his new album, but the album itself is called Bananas. The ex-Arab Strap man is backed by piano, double bass and drums with King Creosote and Withered Hand featuring on backing Vocals. LP on Triassic Tusk.
Vinyl LP £19.49 TTLP06
Heavyweight vinyl LP on Triassic Tusk.
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This is seemingly a low key release by Malcolm Middleton. In fact the man himself had to contact us to tell us it existed....so unaware we were of it but alls well that ends well... here it is and it's all rather lovely and you shouldn't ignore it.
The last time we checked in with him was with his last album 'Summer of 13' which added electronic tomfoolery to his miserable Scottish man vocals. Conversely he sounds remarkably chipper on opener 'Gut Feeling' with it's breezy guitars and upbeat demeanour. It's not unlike something King Creosote might come up with and all memories of his electronic experiments are pretty much put to bed. There's a country lollop to a few of these tracks including 'What A Life' with it's bar-room piano and pished-at-the-end-of-a-session vocals. Unlike 'Summer of 13' these are full band arrangements with lots of whistles and bells. I'm enjoying upbeat tracks like 'Buzz Lightyear Helmet' which like the opening 'Gut Feeling' seems to be a multi-faceted thing with several different sections and changes of tempo.
I've always appreciated Middleton as a guitarist but here his playing is mostly meshed in with other instruments though it does dazzle on the opening to 'That Voice Again' which eventually sounds rather like some windswept 80s thing with hints of the Smiths. Probably my favourite track here my some distance but closer 'Salamander Gray' strips things back into folky balladry territory and is an exceptional way to close the record.
It sounds like 'Bananas' is Middleton trying out a few new ideas some which work better than others but it's a great listen for fans of King Creosote and (of course) Arab Strap.
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