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   Wednesday, June 11, 2003  
Only ten days to go 'til the Longest Day then it's downhill all the way to Christmas. Let's face it, British summertime usually needs all the help it can get. So praise be then for Twice, the new album from LA's The Tyde which really is quite fantastic. Their debut Once - can we look forward to Three times and A lady?! - was a big favourite hereabouts but the follow-up is truly the sound of a band hitting their stride (stryde, even).
It's the same but different. Largely gone are the pastoral, stoned meanderings driven out by a more focussed, dynamic sound. Darren Rademaker's calling card sour vocals are here soaked in streams of delicious vintage keyboards (Ann gets loads more to Do, hurray!) and relentless starbursts of bright guitar. Comparison of the two albums' personnel shows what's happened. Essentially, (and, frankly, excellently) the Beachwood Sparks influence is fading. Dave Scher is now semi-detached from the core band, lap steel having little place amongst this snappy pop. And Chris Gunst has disappeared altogether, replaced by the significantly more definite drumming of ex-Velvet Crush-er Ric Menck. And what a time they're now having.
With only the throwaway Beach Boys-meets-10cc ditty that is Shortboard city getting close to something like filler, there's hardly a wasted moment across these 40 minutes and 11 tracks. Personal highlights include the glorious Go ask yer dad (punctuated terrifically by Menck), the harder grooving Takes a lot of trying and the galloping beat-combo goodness of Crystal canyons, none of which are like anything heard on Once. The 'bastards' and duplicitous women are still around though. Aside from his arresting vocals, it's Darren R's against-the-grain, jaundiced lyrics that set The Tyde apart from so many other mere jangle merchants. Twice is a fizzing joy and deserves a place on your shelf...

reallyrather has long thought that Hem's seductive coffee-table twang positively heaves with film soundtrack potential - think The Bridges of Madison County - so it's not the hugest surprise ever to learn that they've been signed up by Dreamworks...

OK, there's an awful lot of it about these days but for those who just can't get enough of things Nick Drake-shaped will probably need to hear the new album from Bristol's Nick Talbot aka Gravenhurst. Flashlight seasons is due July 7...
   posted by SMc at 3:50 AM |