But if ever there was a band that deserved even more attention than it’s already getting, then it’s the Medway four-piece.
LOUD HORIZON has been championing the cause from way before the release of the band’s first album, and indeed wrote about them in ARTROCKER MAGAZINE some two and a half years ago! Since then (though not necessarily as a direct result of!) their stock and standing has steadily risen, with their two albums and other EP releases garnering ‘five star’ ratings from the afore-mentioned music bible, as well as broadsheet newspaper mentions and plentiful airplay on national radio.
Each release showcases the increasing maturity of song-writing (though I have to say it was of a pretty high standard from the off) and this new EP, featuring five previously unreleased recordings certainly highlights that fact.
I say there are five new recordings … though not exactly five new songs – the track ‘Three Ships,’ appears on the band’s last album, ‘At The End Of A River, The Sea …’ However it has been completely re-worked ( and slightly re-titled) for the this EP. This version ‘Three Ships (disappear here)’ has a more ‘confident’ ring about it; a sturdier feel. It’s more Seventies sounding guitar and stomp than the more acoustic and harmonica based original.It’s also about a minute and a half shorter. Better though!
‘Learning How To Be Idle,’ is dominated early on by piano and Oliver Burgess’s vocals, but then in comes the gentle twang of what sounds like a pedal-steel guitar, giving the track a bit of a bluesy, country feel … but not too much! There then follows an acoustic / solo version by Oliver of last year’s vinyl-only single, ‘Katherine’s Sleeping,’ and a similarly styled demo recorded (at the famous Sun Studios no less) by guitarist Robbie of ‘Orchard Song.’ Maybe because I’m biased, I still enjoy both although I have to say Oliver’s vocals are the better suited to this type of delivery.
‘(Just Like) A Sunny Day In June‘ is the type of song that made me think way back that THEATRE ROYAL are going to attract a LOT of positive attention
This is the first release from the band on their own Medlar Records label and is being made available on a very strictly Limited Edition, hand numbered CD format as well as the usual download. Both can be ordered through the THEATRE ROYAL Bandcamp page.
THE FAST PREACHER is one Daniel Hanson from Orlando, Florida, and as far as I can see, ‘Five Songs’ is his debut release.
Although Daniel is currently putting together a band for touring purposes, this collection of songs were all written, performed and produced by the man himself. And from this you perhaps detect the wide and varied eclectic taste in his influences.
And I think that’s what kinda sold me on this release and prompted me to post it here for all to hear. It starts out in quite a melancholic mood, quiet and tender, but as the tracks progress it moves through various moods and ends with the upbeat ‘Tracks’ with its Beach Boys harmonies mixed with slight punk sensibilities!
Along the way, the EP has its gentle desert-rock moments (think Seventies America) on ‘Trip‘; there are the bluesy moments of ‘Wrong Again‘ and throughout there are little snippets of dreamy acoustic psych.
And I know this will sound odd, but you know what I really like about ‘Five Songs,’ is that it (here goes) it reminds me very much in feel and mood (though not specifically the music as such) of Joe Walsh‘ s first album after leaving The James Gang – ‘Barnstorm.’ By that I mean the way the music is mixed and general feeling that although the sound is hushed and thoughtful, there lurks something more substantial just around that corner. In fact I’d go so far as to say the vocals at the outset of ‘Trip‘ have that little nasal nuance of Joe Walsh.
Anyway – this is not meant as a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise! Suffice to say I think THE FAST PREACHER shows great promise with this one!
(8.5 / 10)
The coastal town of Largs on the West of Scotland is probably better known for its famous ice-cream parlour than for producing credible, pop / soulful bands with masses of potential. But that now seems set to change with the emergence of three-piece BROWN BEAR & THE BANDITS.
Around a year ago, they released their ‘Truth Or Dare‘ EP and the gig-going public of Glasgow and around sat up and listened! There has been a general buzz going around these parts since then and now, with the release of their first single proper, ‘Olive Tree,’ the likes of BBC Introducing are finally picking up on the vibe.
I reckon that ‘vibe’ will soon turn to fully blown ‘hype’ shortly. So, if you’re in Scotland and fancy being able to make that claim of ’I saw them play before they were famous,’ then this is where you need to be:
Friday 23rd February : Tolbooth, Stirling (supporting Miniature Dinosaurs)
Friday 1st March : MV Festival, Aviemore
Thursday 25th April : Hootananny, Inverness **
Friday 26th April : King Tuts, Glasgow **
Saturday 27th April : PJ Malloys, Dunfermline **
Sunday 28th April : Electric Circus, Edinburgh **
(** – Revolving headline dates with Miniature Dinosaurs)
…And here are a couple of tracks from last year’s ‘Truth Or Dare’ EP just for good measure:
Towards the end of January, I posted a little piece on London-based singer-songwriter Darling BOY. At the time, I had no music available to stream, but promised I’d get something up before the EP’s release on 4th March.
So here you go – knock yourself out!
MADAME SO is a Paris born, but London based solo artist. Originally a music journalist, she took the plunge into producing her own music late in 2011 and announced her arrival with a series of solo acoustic sets across London, Amsterdam and Paris.
Her debut release – ‘The Sell-By Date’ EP – is available now (February 2013) and like me you will probably hear a little Patti Smith influence bubbling through a couple of tracks. So that’s Solange (MADAME SO) off and running in my book, then!
LOUD HORIZON is not the first blog to pick up on MADAME SO – and it will not be the last. Even Radio 1, through the medium of one of their remaining credible shows (Gary Crowley’s ‘BBC Introducing’) have given her songs an airing.
Can’t be bad! Expect more.
(I believe the lower / upper case in the name is intentional.)
London-based Darling BOY has played just two short tours of Germany and a few ‘home’ shows, including the iconic 100 Club venue in home city. Even so, he already has the likes of Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Mark Ellen (TV / Radio Presenter), Andy Partridge (XTC) TV Smith (The Adverts) and Alan McGhee (yup, THAT Alan McGhee) all talking about him in favourable and encouraging tones.
The four-track ‘Air Conditioned Gypsy‘ EP is from what I can make out, his first formal first release, and with the current fad for singer-songwriter types showing no immediate sign of abating, there is definitely room at the top table for another – this time one with a bit of ‘attitude’ to their performance.
(‘Air Conditioned Gypsy’ is released through Very Decent Music on 4th March 2013)
(I’ll have a stream of the EP posted here shortly.)
I have a rather odd fascination for the country of North Korea (I’m currently reading my fourth book about the country) and so it’s not surprising that the imagery in this video caught my attention. The song title too, refers to the traditional North Korean dish of kimchee, which is made from fermented vegetables. Yummy!
So I guess I kinda bought into the song before even listening to it – but as I listened to it along with watching the pictures, I found myself really enjoying it! The chirpy tone and delivery really juxtapose the (what we Westerners consider) the plight and misery of millions of North Korean people. And on a lighter side, the sort of stammered manner in which the marching military marries in with the rhythm of the track is quite amusing.
BHI BHIMAN grew up to the sound of Soundgarden and Nirvana in 1990s St Louis, but his latest album ‘Bhiman‘ encapsulates a wide and eclectic range of styles ranging from Country to soul, and West African-influenced folk. His lyrical style reflects both humour and empathy and has seen him in some circles being quoted in the same glowing terms as the likes of Nick owe and Randy Newman, while his rich vocal have been likened to Bill Withers and Richie Havens.
(The album ‘Bhiman’ is available now – January 2013 – on the Boocoo Music label.)
(Having just returned from India and travelled a little on that country’s rail network, I can relate to the video for ‘Guttersnipe,’ an earlier release from the album, and so have also attached that track below.)
I won’t quote the ‘reference points’ mentioned in the Press Sheet that arrived with the e-mail, because in all honesty I was ready to just skip over the content when I read them. But I’m glad I took the time out to listen to these three tracks, and kept a patient and open mind when listening to them.
They are simply excellent! Not punk; not psych; not artrock ….. but most certainly worthy of a wider audience than just those who may be fans of this style of music.
‘Brownian Motion’ is the three-track debut EP by Warwickshire-based singer-songwriter EMILY BROWNE.
Compelling, soulful and unmistakably English, Browne’s vocal prowess is fully revealed across three strikingly original compositions. From the ironic jazz-tinged dynamics of “Stood Still“ through the porcelain-fragile danse macabre of “She Crazy“ to the exuberant funk of “Snap and Crackle“ which somehow thrives without pop.
I’ll not say any more, other than that if you’re reading this blog, chances are you like the kind of music I do, in which case you’ll enjoy the next ten and a half minutes. And id you’d like to find out more about Emily, then you can check out her website, here.
Everything has been very low-key so far, with SOLO playing only a handful of small gigs around London so far. In fact it’s all so low-key that he has not yet created a Facebook page, so any feedback on the tracks that follow can be left in the Comments section below for the time being.
Musically, it’s pretty much an acoustic and synth variation of dream-pop – and most definitely shows some great potential. I particularly like the guitar work on ’Stay True.’
These tracks are the first two from the forthcoming ‘Read With Your Eyes Shut’ EP with the final couple to to be made available at the end of October. (Looks like you can download them for free as well, which is always good!)
Any feedback would I’m sure be gratefully received.
OK – so this is not particularly my choice of musical style, and neither is it particularly ‘LOUD’ ….. but LIZZIE NIGHTINGALE is an artist currently broaching the ‘HORIZON’ and she comes originally from here in Glasgow and so fully merits inclusion on these pages!
There are definite echoes of Kate Bush and the like in LIZZIE’s delivery – again, something I know pretty little of apart from the obvious, but it’s clear to see / hear why she is attracting a good deal of attention.
After a successful stint working alongside Libertine Gary Powell, singer-songwriter Lizzie has decided to spread her wings and go solo for the release of her forthcoming E.P ‘Tiny Teardrops,’ which is available as a free download until 6th August.
With her musical goals firmly in sight, Lizzie released a compilation of demo tracks. She gained immediate support from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and Galaxy FM and sold thousands in the UK and Japan. The success of these tracks also led to a Maida Vale session for BBC Radio 1.
Her new EP, Tiny Teardrops, is the result of Lizzie finding her own individual sound, and after months of writing and developing, this timid yet vivacious Scottish girl is gearing up to showcase her raw and real talent.
Influenced by artists such as Regina Spektor, Kate Bush and Annie Lennox, ‘Tiny Teardrops’ is written in its entirety by Lizzie, and the first video to be released from the EP is for ‘Alone,’ Lizzie’s take on Magnetic Man‘s ‘Flying Into Tokyo.’
So, maybe I’ve been wrong all along; perhaps I’ve been living in denial. For years I’ve been writing that I don’t really ‘do’ singer / songwriter type music. I did somewhat reluctantly concede some time ago however, that I actually liked Lizzyspit; then a while later, Charlotte Eriksson. Then along came Maz Totterdell.
And now there’s NEHEDAR!
OK – let’s just say that female singer / songwriters (some at least) are worth spending some time on. I still don’t ‘do’ male singer / songwriter stuff though!
NEHEDAR is in fact the solo project of Brooklyn based Emilia Cataldo. Together with ‘Little Pioneer’ (Craig Levy) they play just about every instrument on this fourteen track album, although Mike Shobe plays trumpet on one track.
Now, I wasn’t to know this when I pressed the ‘play’ button. All I knew was the ‘singer / songwriter,’ tag, and fully expecting a standard sort of twee, acoustic guitar and sweetly harmonised vocals relating the tale of a love lost, I almost grudgingly gave it a listen –and then bought into it by the time the first chorus of track one, ‘The Interrogation’ came around. Yes, the vocals are dulcet right enough, but there’s more of a gentle electro feel about this than simply being an ‘acoustic’ track. And then the chorus – if ever there was a more contrary juxtaposition than such an innocent and angelic voice singing, “There’s so much confusion, there is so much fucking noise …” than I’ve got to hear it!
Right – ‘High Tide’ now has my attention. The title track follows. Again, it has a bit of an electro feel with lots of dark ‘clanks’ and little synthy runs flowing beneath Emilia’s vocal which ranges from warm and mellow to high pitch.
There are of course some slower, more downbeat tracks to be heard, but in general they are filled out with other instruments, like a cello and piano section on ‘Distracted,’ which is atmospheric at the same time as being a bit ‘lounge’ music. Really pleasant though.
‘Tinkerbell’ seems to be story of a girl lacking confidence, though I’m still that shallow punk who doesn’t pay too much to lyrics generally so I may be way off here! Regardless, this one again is simply captivating, but succeeds in being so without submerging itself in a bath of melancholy.
‘Take It Apart’ has a bit of a Hispanic feel, with the trumpet sounding like it’s drifted up from the Mexican border. As you’d imagine, this one’s quicker of pace and totally infectious. ‘The Song No One Hears’ maintains the tempo, but I have to say to less effect than its predecessor in that it’s not quite so ‘instant.’ It does however highlight the variation of styles employed on the album.
‘Eggshells’ rocks along in a sort of acoustic fashion, with lovely harmonies backing up the principal vocals and little electro injections here and there breaking things up before the album takes on a more sober turn with ‘Intro.’ A sort of distorted sounding piano arpeggio mirrors Emilia’s distorted and more hushed voice. It sounds almost ‘choral’ in parts, but I like it because it dares to be different.
‘Dig Deep (Parts 1 & 2)’sees the opening one and three-quarter minutes with Emilia singing accompanied only by a tambourine. The link to Part 2 is as if from a clockwork musical box from which a ballerina emerges. The song then fills out to become more dramatic, again with occasional Hispanic hints, I’d say. ‘Unlove Song’ is another of the slower-paced songs that somehow still retains my interest, in no small part due to the integration of synth effects giving a certain depth and originality.
If NEHEDAR were to ever release a single here in UK, then ‘Baby I’m Falling’ is the one! In an album of generally accessible songs, this one comes with the added prefix of ‘commercially.’ It has a gentle but bouncy refrain. The hook is strong and the harmonies get right inside your heard.
‘Ocean’ is unfortunately one of the types of song that I (in my previously ‘unenlightened’ life) would have stereotypically associated with the ‘singer / songwriter’ genre. What was it I said ……’ a standard sort of twee, acoustic guitar and sweetly harmonised vocals relating the tale of a love lost?’
‘Opening’ picks up the tempo and is a really ‘chipper’ little sing-a-long with little Country hues to add colour and vibrancy. Closing track ‘Count Down The Days’ is very much the sound of a German beer garden – very ‘oom-pah-pah,’ and in fact could quite conceivably have been lifted from a ‘Mary Poppins’ type movie – albeit that particular film was set in London as opposed to Munich. (You’ll know where I’m coming from when you hear it!)
So there you have it – I still reserve the right to dislike ‘singer / songwriter’ material, but it’s artists like NEHEDAR that are making my prejudices more and more difficult to substantiate!
(Available now through the Bandcamp page via Facebook)(8/10)
Having recently been somewhat cynical towards the idea of classical genres having modern day appeal I am happy to admit I was perhaps a bit too hasty in that sweeping generalisation.
‘American Goldwing’ is the sixth studio album from Portland based Blitzen Trapper. A fusion of American folk and southern country rock, despite Portland being about as far as possible geographically in the US from the origins of country rock. It has plenty of contemporary charm and I would pitch it somewhere between Bob Dylan and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They take a vintage sound and revamp it with more modern rock edgyness.
The album opens with ‘Might Get It Cheap‘. A five second sliding guitar solo introduces the track which if we were back in the 70’s may well have went on for 3 or 4 minutes. I do feel slightly cheated out of this epic Free Bird-esq intro. The tempo sets off at a medium pace with a bouncy toe taping melody. Electro acoustic bridging riffs tie the verses together and help the track flow.
There is a good variance as the album progresses. They branch out from the signature sound with touches of blues, rock n roll and radio friendly post-grunge. The vocals are gritty which gives them a sense of integrity.
If pressed I’d probably plump for ‘Fletcher’ as my favourite track is more folky with the focus on the vocals and rhythm guitar. The melody is easy on the ears and the chorus catchy.
‘American Goldwing’ is my first exposure to Blitzen Trapper and silly name aside I am totally sold on them.
(Available now through Sub Pop Records)
DREAMEND is in essence Ryan Graveface, the sole proprietor and employee of Chicago’s Graveface Records, and part time guitarist for psychedelic oddballs, Black Moth Super Rainbow. Touted as ‘dreampop / psychfolk’ this single is offered up as a taster for the new album ‘So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite’ which is due for release in the UK come early November.
And you know what…? Despite the use of the dreaded ‘f’ word in the description of the musical genre, this is a great little song!
From a very quiet opening, the acoustic guitar picks up the volume with a shuffling rhythm as Ryan’s vocals break in. These are layered initially with lovely harmonies before the song briefly drops back again towards its hushed beginnings. Then, with slightly less than two minutes remaining of the four, the song bursts open with a “Hah!” and the sound instantly becomes fuller with female backing vocals and distorted handclaps (they do it for me every time!) vying with the hooked line of the glockenspiel.
Dare I say ‘My Old Brittle Bones’ has echoes of Arcade Fire about it? As a one-off track, it also reminds me of another Canadian band, Islands.
Not bad reference points, I would suggest, should any be needed.
(Released through Memphis Industries on 20th September 2010)
(8.5 / 10)
BENJAMIN SHAW is a Northern lad. From Blackpool in fact, and that by definition means he has been genetically wired with a dry and sometimes self-deprecating sense of humour. He will also, by definition, ‘tell it how it is’ and will doubtless call a spade a feckin’ shovel!
Following a period of ‘particular awfulness’ (his words) he married and buggered off to Australia for a while, from where you would not unnaturally think that he’d return with (at the very least) the quality of self assuredness and confidence to add to his ‘Northern’ attributes. Possibly a slightly dangerous combination, some might say.
But no – judging by the six tracks on BENJAMIN’S ‘I Got The Pox, The Pox Is What I Got’ EP, the ‘Northern’ traits still hold sway over those of the southern hemisphere.
It would perhaps too easy to dismiss these songs as ‘miserablist’ but they’re certainly not ones to have dancing around your bedroom like a loon. They do have a certain charm and a propensity to draw out the listener’s sympathy for BENJAMIN as he delivers his lyrics in a rather plaintive manner.
The lyrics themselves are a strange mix of that dry humour, bitterness and pathos – sometimes all within the same song, like ‘The Carpeteer’ – and in the main are accompanied simply by BENJAMIN’S acoustic guitar. Musically, the mood is distinctly downbeat, with the exception of ‘When I Fell Over In The City,’ which has a nice, quick delivery and lovely harmonies wrapped around the chorus of ‘There’s a fine line between talent and me.’
‘2,000 Sentinels’ is again of the ‘slow’ nature, but like on another couple of occasions, BENJAMIN employs some electronic gadgetry in the introduction and this time the base is centred on a harpsichord sounding piano line. The chorus, or at least the end line or so, sounds similar to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me,’ though that probably doesn’t mean much to anyone else!
Actually, although I don’t generally ‘do’ downbeat styled music, this track is really pleasant and interesting…. One that I’d certainly play again / add to my I-Tunes playlist.
However if I’m honest, even though there are many people who are going to love this brand of music – and I’ve seen many reviews that concur with that point – I found it all a bit too much of an adventure into endurance. But you’ve got to hand it to the lad, his rather perverse sense of humour shines through all the evident pain.
BENJAMIN SHAW – ‘coming at you like a wet duffel-coat.’ (His words!)
(Released through Audio Antihero and out now – September 2010)
You gotta hand it to singer / songwriter HARPER SIMON, he sure knows how to put together a lovely little tune.
I defy anyone, no matter whether they are into their punk, rock, metal – whatever, not to be caught up in the willowy harmonies and lightly picked acoustic guitar of ‘Berkeley Girl.’ I tried so hard to dislike this, but quite honestly just couldn’t think of one single reason why I should. I don’t think I can even say with any conviction that ‘this is not a track I’d personally choose to play,’ – because in all likelihood I’m going to return to this CD time and again.
(Damn my honesty!)
That the song itself has (at least to a philistine like me) distinct echoes of Simon and Garfunkel, yet still sounds contemporary, but distant from the dreaded ‘twee’ label, is decent recommendation for starters. The vocals are nice and relaxed and the whole song has a really warm and cosy, comforting feel to it.
There’s not much more I can say. Nice!
(Released through [PIAS] Recordings on 13th September 2010)
AVI BUFFALO are a four-piece band based in Long Beach, California who produce (at least based on this single release anyway) what you may rather stereotypically expect of a band from that region of the world – laid-back, bright, summery pop music.
‘Truth Sets In’ is just that. Its relaxed, shimmering sound and lush, luxurious vocals are supplemented by hand-claps, what sounds like a flute, and softly picked guitar played to mimic a glockenspiel.
Starting ever so quietly, the song builds from a brief acoustic intro with a lovely little electric guitar ‘plink,’ into one of glorious harmony as Avi and keyboard player Rebecca Coleman provide a fresh perspective on US teenage life.
What’s so remarkable about this track is that it manages to steer clear of the dreaded ‘twee’ tag. It does sail dangerously close, but somehow maintains that relaxed feel without getting all sugary and sickly.
The band’s new album has garnered many glowing reviews and certainly if ‘Truth Sets In’ is indicative of the quality, it is easy to understand that this young band (I believe the oldest member to be only twenty-one years old) are being touted as one of the ‘discoveries’ of 2010.
(Released through Sub Pop on 16th August 2010)
(8.5 / 10)
Although I’d have to concede to being unable to name either another album or single release from New York’s JUST SURRENDER, I have been a ‘casual admirer,’ since they appeared on an A.M.P. compilation (along with Houston Calls and Plain White T’s) that was sent to me from The States a few years back.
There’s no denying that these guys are hugely popular, and I’ve got to say that ‘Phoenix’ merely serves to re-affirm my personal enjoyment of their music, albeit that I am arguably (actually, ‘un-deniably’) considerably older than their massive fanbase!
The one thing I’d say about this brand of pop-punk (and it’s a point that pertains to all similarly styled bands – of which there are a good many) is that it becomes difficult to be ‘different.’ Much of his type of music sounds familiar, between bands and even between tracks on the same album by the same band! What defines one group from another is how well they carry it off – and JUST SURRENDER are right up there!
That’s not to say they are exempt from the critical comment above. Much of ‘Phoenix’ seems to run on and into the next track. It’s all very pleasant and not sugar-sweet sickly as some bands sound, but how long can it continue like this?
In their defence though, there are some outstanding tracks amongst the twelve on ‘Phoenix.’ The one and a half instrumental minutes of ‘Intro’ for instance seems to adopt a heavier approach than I can recollect from the band previously. Likewise, the following ‘Through The Night,’ has a harder and sharper edge. The trademark duelling lead vocals are still in evidence as are the big, melodic backing vocals, but the principal vocal growls more menacingly than before. It certainly augurs well, bearing in mind the comment in the previous paragraph.
‘Take Me Home,’ returns to the more ‘pop’ side of punk / rock. Skater-punk with tinges of emo is of course a winning formula and so it is with this track. ‘Crazy’ then continues in the same vein and this is the case in point. ‘On My Own’ differs in that the there are more hardcore shouts in the vocals and the album starts to move towards an even better place.
Next up the first of two versions of the superb ‘Burning Up’ – the second being an acoustic version that closes the album. Which is the better? You decide. I’d happily have either version looped on the ‘repeat’ button. Both versions are melodic and powerful, the full electric one has the makings of a ‘Soundtrack to Summer’ that would transfer to the stereo of the car with its soft-top roof pulled back as you head along the sun-drenched freeway, under a cloudless, azure sky.
(And…… back in the room….!)
‘Stronger Now’ builds in some gruff, shouted backing vocals and heavy guitar riffs amongst its slower more deliberate tempo as does ‘Lose Control’ and I’m getting the impression that the second half of the album has a bit more of aggressive edge to it. ‘Better To Leave’ tries to go the same way, but (after admittedly only a few listens) sounds like a competent ‘filler,’ to me.
‘Carried Away’ is an acoustic track featuring a cello to add ‘mood’ much in the same way as Plain White Ts did with ‘Hey Delilah’ a few years back. This is a nice and pleasing track, but may have been better placed further up the running order to break up some of the more similar sounding songs – especially in light of the fact that the closing track is that acoustic version of ‘Burning Up.’
‘Jukebox Memoirs’ returns to the feel of the earlier part of the album. Again, it’s excellent in its own right, but maybe a bit familiar sounding by now.
Overall, this album deserves some big kudos for what it is – huge, chunky guitar riffs backed by big, melodic dual vocals and clean, compact drumming. Like I said, there’s a lot of this around, but my impression is that JUST SURRENDER do it as well as, if not better than anyone.
(Released through LAB on 2nd August 2010)
Well – this one took me completely by surprise! From their name and what I’d previously read about MONSTERS IN THE ATTIC, I was expecting fifteen minutes of punk infused hard rock. What I got was quarter of an hour of acoustic versions of existing MONSTERS’ songs.
But it was nice surprise –though I do believe this to this to be a temporary diversion and the first of two EPs the band are to release, the second being a full electric one.
Opening track ‘Church Sundae,’ is a re-working of crowd favourite ‘I’ll Be Damned’ and if you can refrain from trying to compare the two versions and let the acoustic version stand alone, then you’d have to say that it certainly works. There’s a nice, flowing rhythm to it and the vocals are mellow, and with a pretty cool little guitar solo in the middle, this could track could easily have been transported forward in time from some generic, late Seventies Southern Rock band. (Apart from the bloody annoying whistling! Leave that to Peter, Bjorn and John, lads!)
‘Get To The Border’ sees the addition of a string section, and in particular a cello to add a darker, moodier feel. This is played off against some lighter and faster guitar. Not having heard the original version it’s very easy for me to say that this track is really atmospheric and again works beautifully in its new format.
‘Zombie Girl’ features some haunting harmonica as the pace drops into more of a Bluesy mode in a song about a zombie girlfriend, before the closing track ‘Jules’ – a rehash of the electric version ‘Tell Jules’ – completes the EP with a bit of a stomp with an eminently sing-a-long chorus.
I have no idea how any hardcore fans of MONSTERS IN THE ATTIC with react to this brief change in direction, but all I can say is that up here in Glasgow we have a band called Kassidy who have made a name for themselves producing this brand of music. MONSTERS IN THE ATTIC also do it very well…..could they be contemplating an altogether different route to a more mainstream success?
On this evidence, the ‘diversion’ could just prove to be shrewd shortcut.
(Released through Onslaught Music on September 13th 2010)