Monday, August 08, 2005
Back to the future...
posted by SMc at 9:01 AM
Despite 'sounds like' comparisions being regarded in some quarters as the last resort of the lazy reviewer the debut album from Sth London combo Clor seems to be setting new records for cited influences. It'd almost be quicker to list the acts it doesn't apparently sound a bit like. For those not yet up to speed the most obvious and oft-cited antecedents are: Gary Numan, Sparks, Kraftwerk, Devo, Thomas Dolby, Depeche Mode.. you're getting the picture. What linked most of that lot, aside from the 'machine-made' quality of their music, was the futuristic sci-fi cobblers which surrounded it's presentation, the wholly risible Bladerunner fancy dress and cold, po-faced miens. What they also shared was reallyrather's near-total indifference.. and yet this blog is loving Clor.
This may have something to do with the curveball pop sensibilities of the secondary tier of 'influences' - XTC, Pavement, Bill Nelson, Bowie, Prince, et al. Sounding unconcerned with (but not totally disconnected from) the prevalent jittery art-pop legions, Clor have set about fashioning a fizzing set of danceable electro-pop-rock. Crucially, unlike it's precursors, the sound isn't machine-tooled and vacuum-packed. Circumstances dictated a shoestring D-I-Y recording process and you can tell. It's a bit crispy round the edges and you can see/hear the joins but there's a face-slapping immediacy which might've been lost in more conventional studio setting.
Clor is fairly littered with smart, catchy, sleazy pop tunes. It's almost a quaint concept these days but if reallyrather was bothered to nominate a Single of the Year Love + pain would be out in pole position right now. Not sure if Good stuff has been a single yet but if so it wouldn't be far behind. Both are near-perfect, bolting unavoidable clanging guitar choruses onto spare, squirty synth-funk skeletons. Outlines is 'the Gary Numan one' and Hearts on fire 'the Kraftwerk one', with added alt-pop vim. And Magic touch is 'the Prince one', it's steamy groove halted halfway by crash-landing guitar chord upon which the guys surf on out.
As there's so many names flying about a couple more can't do any harm. Clor could perhaps be seen as a more Teutonic, muscle-bound and suggestive Postal Service, forcing choice indie band tunes through bloopy electro (albeit of a more retro vintage). But, with their compelling rhythms, duel keyboard/guitar attack and occasional jolting gear changes and sonic assaults, this blog is most of all reminded of The Dismemberment Plan at their most melodic (The emergency & I is the one).
Have been reported
..sings Barry in Garden of love and he's right - only this time round there's no mad staring eyes or lampshades on the head. Right here, right now Clor feels like an '05 essential...
And here's another bedroom opus albeit a few years old now but getting a new lease of life. reallyrather seems to have been one of a tiny few to have caught Golden sand and the grandstand, the debut effort from Douglas 'the Scotch Tape Brian Wilson' Kabourek, aka Fizzle Like A Flood, first time out. Very ambitious and very cheap, it's a 25-minute concept recording about, er, horseracing.. and stuff. 'There are moments of pop perfection throughout,' says the record co. that's re-releasing it and actually they're not wrong. It's now been 'properly' mastered and apparently 'sounds so much better now...I mean, it was five years ago...I’m a better singer and that record’s kind of just like a major smash-over-the-head like 25 minutes of pure psychosis...'
Fizzle interview/ reviewed
Ahead of the release of his fourth solo effort, Coles Corner, Being There magazine interviews Richard Hawley, Lord Hawley of Croonshire:
BT: Do you see yourself more as a producer/songwriter or as a performer?
RH: All of the above. I do home visits too, closed on Sundays though.
...and the best little pop group in England, The Research, talks to Blank Stares & Cricket Claps:
Q: You don’t work for a living, so what do you actually do all day?
A: “It gets really boring. We shouldn’t complain. You have to waste so much time, there’s hardly anything productive you can do with that time. It just kills me, it rots my soul thinking I’m wasting my life away. I’ve been thrown out of three Dixons around the country trying to watch Neighbours at lunchtime.” Ha! Another superfine bout of ba-ba-baa-ing from Russell, Georgia and Sarah at the Bar Academy in Islington last week. Their debut album is one of the few good reasons this blog can think of for anticipating autumn...