Hereford. I have no idea about what goes on their but I have a feeling Vic Mars third LP for Clay Pipe might just tell me. You see Vic has trawled back through his memory banks to recall his childhood pottering about the Herefordshire countryside. He also made a trip back there to see how it had all changed in the years since. All of which has inspired this album which uses old 80s software and array of school instruments to get that none-more-nostalgic sound. And will you just look at that artwork. Absolutely gorgeous as ever from Frances Castle and her wonderful Clay Pipe label.
Limited Vinyl LP £16.49 PIPE021LP
Turquoise vinyl LP on Clay Pipe Music. Edition of 700 numbered copies.
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- Inner Roads and Outer Paths by Vic Mars
I love records about place. Pictures and videos can show you what a place looks like, but they struggle to communicate what it feels like to be somewhere. I have never been to Hereford, and given it takes over three hours on the train to get there from our humble office, I probably never will. And yet, listening to Vic Mars’ latest album for the wonderful Clay Pipe Music, I am overcome with a sense of yearning and nostalgia for the place.
‘Inner Roads and Outer Paths’ is something of a memoir. Having revisited the town that raised him Mars realised things had changed, he’d never be able to go back to the Hereford of his childhood. This was the impetus for the record, one that remembers and misremembers those carefree days in a way that makes them accessible to me, someone who has only ever lived in large cities.
This all starts from the instrumentation. Glockenspiel and recorder will forever be the instruments of childhood, being the instruments that are first thrust into tiny hands. They are grounded by what sounds like a cello, a safe bed on which the flightier instruments can frolic. The compositions also channel a wide-eyed pastoral calm. There isn’t any of the frenetic drama we associate with cities, instead it’s a smaller one. One that is hopeful and naive and free in the way that children often are. Especially when presented with an open field or a gently flowing river.
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