It’s nice to be able to pack instant sunshine to play when you most need it or just, for the sheer fun and ‘chill-ability’ that’s available from Sargasso Trio’s, new album, Get To Grips.

 

A summer record and full of life for sure, the album was recorded not in Athens, Georgia where one might assume it hails from but, in the depths of Norfolk. UK (where there are beaches for sure).

 

The album has a depth in styles, pop, reggae, electro, Caribbean rhythms and roots yet, this mix creates a seemingly simple yet effective body swaying sound. Listen carefully and you will be surprised what you can hear.

 

I was aware of the Middle East from their excellent six song ep I picked up last year ‘The Recordings of The Middle East’ so their full length debut has been eagerly awaited. ‘I want that you are always happy” does not disappoint either; indeed, I would have to say it is a stunning full length debut.    

An Australian six piece collective from Queensland, the album was recorded in DentonTexas and with that in mind, there are some Midlake comparisons here sound wise. Rather than gush about the album on the first few listens, I thought that I would give it some time and see a month down the road if, I remained ‘ blown away’. It seems I do.  

‘Black Death 1349’ is an ethereal start, a story of London 1349 sung with reverence. ‘My Grandma was Pearl Hall’ has sombre piano and a Tom Waits rasping vocal. ‘As I go to See Janey’  has an acoustic guitar which brings a lighter note musically if not lyrically, even at this stage you find yourself sucked into the substance of the album.   

It’s a pleasure to discover a band just by chance and with a great record. Satisfaction even, when you can say to your mates, great record by the Ladybug Transistor and they say “who?, never heard of them” and that would have been me less than 24 hours ago. Now I am even a bit smug, if sixteen years too late. 

Thanks to the record store listening post (Rough Trade Records East) I was able to spend some time being captivated by this lovely record during my lunch break. It came as a bit of shock to learn that this band have been around for sixteen years and ‘Clutching Stems’ is their seventh album! 

Formed in 1995 in (where else?) Brooklyn, the band seems to have had a stable (Gary Olson) yet at times, shifting personnel, they also suffered the tragic death of a band member. The band is recorded as being part of the Elephant Six Collective, who can count the likes of Jeff Mangum, Apples In Stereo and The Essex Green amongst their ranks. In 2006 the band contributed to the recording of Kevin Ayers' album ‘The Unfairground’ which Gary Olson also produced.  

I’ve been trying to write a review of this album for a while, but it’s such a freaked-out behemoth it’s hard to know where to start. It’s also a record that’s going to polarize opinion and is likely to lead to much discussion at Rock Club Towers, like the Swans album did last year. For a start, it’s difficult to categorize into a single genre – if there was such a thing as space-garage-pyscho-prog-rebel-rock then this would fit perfectly into its pigeonhole. 

‘The Condition of Nothing’ starts the album with a full on blast of noise – a great rocking sound, brilliant guitar solo, some squelchy keyboard effects and some great dual vocals. Pretty much all you could need from a 6 minute opening track. The track ends abruptly when ‘Movement Starts’, which is a 2 and a half minute interlude of choppy, clanking guitar sounds, ending with a keyboard noise that is clearly achieved when you press the button marked ‘throbbing’. 

Next up is ‘No Other Way’ – at 10 minutes 39 seconds long, this is still only the third longest track on the album. It’s a medium paced instrumental track that starts off with a bass riff and gradually builds and builds. Guitars are layered on, followed by keyboards to create a woozy atmosphere that slowly hypnotizes you before fading away. 

From Portland Oregon and now on the Brooklyn based Partisan label, (after a long spell on Yep Roc) Dolorean have produced yet another quality record. ‘The Unfazed’ is their fourth record, coming four years after their last ‘You Can’t Win’ and comes across as a real musician’s recording. The song writing is sublime and musicianship flawless.   

 

This is a band however that you have to seek out .First off; don’t get them confused with Spanish dance-pop outfit Delorean. (this statement seems to appear in every article about the band, like a Government  health warning, sorry). 

 

Secondly their albums do not seem to be in every record store, so you have to search them out, (my copy was downloaded from emusic) which is all part of the fun. A little effort brings a massive reward remember.

 

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