Sunday, October 16, 2005
You look like David Bowie
posted by SMc at 3:38 AM
But you've nothing new to tell me
...is a pretty brave line to stick on your debut album. It leaps right out at you during Over and over again by New York 5-piece Clap Your Hands Say Yeah though transposing 'Byrne' for 'Bowie' might be more immediately relevant. There's more than a little Talking Heads suffusing this record (like a few others recently, the Heads having seemingly superceded The Cure as Nth American Indie's influence-of-choice). So do they have anything new to tell us? Well, not a huge amount but there's plenty to enjoy here on it's own terms.
Over and over again is CYHSY at their most clipped, a cool little bass'n'drums groove forming the bed for some light ringing electric guitar and singer Alec Ounsworth's Byrnian croon. At the other end of the scale is the adrenalising superfat-indie-guitar glory of In this house on ice, a track which from it's first keystone chord changes does everything you hope and expect it will. Hitting the visceral bullseye this accurately, reallyrather cares not too much about it's instant familiarity.
Gimme some salt is a brooding pop-rocker which hints at the more mainstream success they could likely nail if they chose while Heavy metal is a rattling good stomper. (The latter is among the half-dozen or so here produced by Adam Lasus who was behind the boards on the woefully underheard perennial reallyrather favourite from 2000, Ephemera for the future by The Trolleyvox.) The skin of my yellow country teeth is probably the most roundly rewarding song of the lot; Ounsworth's queasy smear of a voice is at its most extreme here and if this track doesn't put you off you'll want this record...
...and, in all likelihood, that of Montreal debutantes Wolf Parade. There are definitely overlaps in these bands' respective sounds; if you drew a Venn diagram the common ground would be Arcade Fire-coloured. There's the high, slightly off-the-map whiney vocal, the uncomplicated onwards-we-go drummin' and that hi-hat-on-the-offbeat thing going on. But Apologies to the Queen Mary is a denser, rather more rock affair with less light'n'shade than the CYHSY record.
A song like Dinner bells is as good an example of their sound as any, epic guitar bombast but of the right sort. This track does get a bit pointlessly extended (7mins+!) but it's really the only time this blog is tempted to reach for the skip button. Song titles like Shine a light and Hearts on fire are a bit groan-inducing and indicate a band still finding it's ID. But the former is a very tidy Arcade Fire-ish rocker with obvious radio potential; their compatriots (and tour buddies) also leap immediately to mind on the raspy Modern world.
Grounds for divorce is Wolf Parade's Talking Heads moment but that doesn't stop it being a clockwork cracker, a Heath Robinson-esque set of working parts with a stomping, guitar-drenched chorus. Happy claps, too, rocks in v. satisfactory fashion while the grandiose swishing swoop of Same ghost every night offers a timely change of pace. And I'll believe in anything just feels BIG, with a mighty refrain - 'Nobody know you and nobody gives a damn' - that should sound gorgeously thrilling in the tiny confines of...
...the Camden Barfly Dec 1 when they make their UK debut. It's sold out already, of course, as is the Clap Your Hands.. ULU debut show Nov 22 but hey, if reallyrather ends up being stuck for someone to go with...
And in other news...
::The Spinto Band & The Colony play the Windmill in Brixton Oct 21
'FoW-meets-Pavement' apparently in this touted Delaware 7-piece, with v. interesting UK support
The Spinto Band / The Colony
::Sweden's The Legends play Heavenly Social Mon Oct 24 - bring your guitars, guys
::November 26. Autumn handing over the baton to winter. The Last Town Chorus at the 12 Bar. Chilly...
The Last Town Chorus
::while Toytown beatsmiester Kid Carpet pops up back at the Barfly in Camden on Nov 28. To Fisher-Price and beyond...!
Best 'til Last Dept:
::apparently there's a new record on the way from the lovely Shelley Short! Her lower-than-low-key debut on Keep Recordings was an unalloyed delight. No clues yet about the Hush Records follow-up but for a hint of the spot-on artistic sensibilities at work here check out the rather fantastic photo on the front page of her website...