Londoner Oliver Cherer is prolific. For the last few years he’s clocked up more than an album a year, either under his own name or as Dollboy or Gilroy Mere. The songs on his latest album, I Feel Nothing Most Days, date back to 1983, and were inspired by Ben Watt, Robert Wyatt and The Durutti Column. The discovery the songs on some old cassettes coupled with the fact that he found himself in possession of one of Vini Rielly’s guitars motivated him to finish the songs. LP on Second Language.
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LP on Second Language.
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Oliver Cherer (Gilroy Mere, Dollboy, The Assistant, Australian Testing Labs) began work on what became I Feel Nothing Most Days in a squat in 1984. That's a long, long time ago. He's certainly been prolific over the years but it's very possible that belatedly I Feel Nothing Most Days could be his best work.
It has the feel of an early '80s bedsit album and it could be compared to the John Martyn-inspired material Ben Watt was pumping out at the time. Lots of I Feel Nothing Most Days sounds like the two albums Watt made for Cherry Red (North Marine Drive and Summer Into Winter) most notably on A Small Town which mirrors Watt's yearning delivery, carefully picked electric guitar tones and jazz inflected songwriting. Cherer generally keeps arrangements simple but adds unexpected touches such as gospel-ish sounding backing vocals and lengthy, snaking tenor sax solos.
Untitled 1983 could well be one of the the early 80s recordings (I'd make a great detective) and it sounds frighteningly like Ben Watt's 'Lucky One' - almost too close for comfort I'd say so it's somewhat a relief when Cherer moves away from his North Marine Drive obsession on Earth Rise and Sinners of the World which take the textural guitar tones of the Durutti Column and match it to thought provoking lyrical preoccupations which particularly on Sinners of the World remind me of Robert Wyatt. Another reference point would be the music produced in the late 90s/early 00s by the Montgolfier Brothers/Gnac/Quigley.
What I Feel Nothing Most Days lacks perhaps in originality, it makes up for in a continuing mood of thoughtful sophisticated melancholy. The album is old fashioned in that it needs to be heard as a whole in order to succeed properly. You need to step inside Cherer's world and the songs don't always catch fire on first listen but subsequent spins reveal the subtle moods at play and you find yourself lost in its charms. One for rainy nights, a tumbler of whiskey on the go and the dying embers of a fire.
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