Friday, 13 March 2009
Is that a bad thing? Who knows. A small part of me vomits and stabs itself when I see the pictures of the effortlessly (but so effortfully) styled Mica Levi frolicking like a vagina-ised Pete Doherty. But then the itching, effervescent robo-disco brilliance of her debut LP Jewellery hits in and I can’t hate, I just cant. Thing is, this is an album that embraces all sonic dispositions. It kicks cans with lo-fi shufflers; wallops beats with the hippest dub cat; and shits effervescent pop like a laxative sniffing Lilly Allen.
In short, I’m bombastically confident the Matthew Herbert (yep, Matthew fucking Herbert !) produced LP will crack into your cranium with all the velocity of an engine frozen Boeing 777 (WHAT THE FUCK?!?!). Aye, I may be wrong – after all I’m someone who made a bet that Glasvegas would shift less units than Broken Records last year (i.e. I’m a Div Kid) – but this time I doubt it. So, drop your pretensions at the door and give in. You won’t be the only one.
What actually tips it N&TW’s way is the shoals of sombre, infectious melodies exuding from stage. Denser in sound than their brittle-boned debut LP suggests, Charlie Fink's tremulous blow swathes through the orchestral blizzard of Jocasta and Mary with the expertise of someone much longer in tooth. New numbers slot in like quarters to a Vegas fruit machine and although THAT closing totem is wearily treadmilled, N&TW manage to chisel into an enthralling creative avenue. Lord knows where they’ll be in half a decade.
First published here
Photae by David Anderson
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
All in all, I was a bit of a confused monkey in my fledgling years but Morgan Nicholls – he of Senseless Things fame – changed that. Organized was a rainbow-bright swash of all that intrigued me. It took the summer-time pop sloping of the Beach Boys and beaded it together with slithers of Hip-Hop, Soul, Funk, Electro, Synth-tronica and – Christ – even kiddy pop. I can still hear the heavenly chords of opener Flying High that swooshed deliciously through my lugs and into that piece of grey matter that incited the fluttering of a thousand butterfly wings in my malnourished belly. The irrepressible Miss Parker and Fistful of Love were equally magnificent, each blessed with swathes of schoolyard samples and ice-pop melodics. Sure they were flawed, but that was the appeal: who wants prolonged perfection when you can have a few scorching moments of brilliance that’ll remain forever in the mind?
So aye, Organized was my album of a long, arduous summer spent in the belly of the Fringe but, sadly, Morgan Nicholls never followed it up. So where’d he go? Oddly, he’s moved on to bigger and better things: he hooked up with Gorillaz, spent time kicking rhymes with Mike Skinner and The Streets and, perhaps most bizarrely, now play keys for gargantuan, shit-shifting decibel merchants Muse. All well and good, I guess, but it’s disappointing to discover that someone who played such a big part in a rather important window of my life now scurries in the shadows of those I despise. It’s funny how things turn out.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Thursday, 5 March 2009
But any tortured romantic eagerly anticipating the return of Ashbury and his lovelorn laments is about to be sorely disappointed. His latest LP Advanced Base Battery Life is no spanking new CFTPA release. Rather, it’s a languid assortment of rehashed singles, re-traipsed B-sides and oddly re-jigged Springsteen classics. Nae quite an album for soothing broken souls, then; more a record label’s stroll down memory lane.
The problem with memories is they’re often better left to the past. Dressing up the wonderful ‘Lesley Gore On the T.A.M.I Show’ with a constellation of synth and Jenny Herbinson’s cottoned tones may varnish the familiar, but drop in a frayed entanglement of collector only demos and the record diminishes as a wallet opening compendium. Sure, scratchy renditions of The Boss’s ‘Born In The USA’ and ‘Streets Of Philadelphia’ meddle gamefully alongside a fuzz-drenched [Paul Simon's] ‘Graceland’, yet when pitted against ‘Holly Hobby’’s chime riddled splendour they toil as underdeveloped bedroom jams.
Admittedly, moments of wonderment can be slurped from this well of dissatisfaction: a creaky acoustic melody and crackled vocal trickle like tear droplets down the beatific ‘It’s A Crime’, and the gyrating R&B rhythm of Missy Elliot’s ‘Hot Boyz’ is smothered in Ashbury’s gleefully sardonic rumbling and the lascivious purr of Katy Davidson [Dear Nora]. While ‘White Corrolla‘’s twinkling keys and shoulder slooped mew resonate with a crispness that stretches beyond the original’s scuffled timidity and into a sparkling, cherry-popped glitter of melody
But gleaming parts are few in a sum that equates to just another shoddily contrived dust-racking compilation. Essentially, Advance Base Battery Life is a record that offers little to seasoned CFTPAers and even less to those of unaccustomed lugs. The solitude of narration that seizes Ashbury’s full-length recordings has been reduced to a cluster of underwhelming off-cuts that lack direction or purpose. And that’s a crying shame because, really, this is a man who’s capable of so much more.