Album Reviews

This is not an album you leap to put on when the sun is out and you feeling up, without a care in the world but this is actually, an album you may well readily put on first thing in the morning (idea for that early morning dazed train commute) or, last thing at night or just perhaps, when everything is not so rosy in your Garden.

 

Ex-Sparklehorse musician Adam Wiltzie, and composer Dustin O'Halloran are A Winged Victory For The Sullen. They have produced a solemn even reverential recording of beautiful music, piano, strings, an ambience woven into a spider’s web of contentment.

I have been giving this album a few listens over the past 3-4 weeks and actually gave it a break and then went back to it, just to see if it had some lasting power. It does!

 

This record is a ragged blues-fuelled classic, with a modern twist. The guitar lines cut like a razor blade on opener 'You're in my blood', and 'Heart rested with you' is pure classic Rock. Thunderous stuff!

 

The new record follows their eponymous 2009 debut which was filed under the nu-folk bracket. If that was the case, then the record that you could soon be holding in your hands is a seismic change.

 

Since 2009, Kill It Kid have been earning their spurs via relentless touring, inspired by the old blues warriors, although the band actually hails from Bath. Still, that was the home of the famous Blues festival of 1969/70 so there must be something in the water.

A delightful five song taster of a lot more to come hopefully from Diagrams and Sam Gendes, an ex stalwart of hip folk collective Tunng.

The songs are very varied on the ep from the opening of ‘Night All Night’  with an acoustic  base and honey rich vocals, a lovely song , to the second song  which adds brass and strings and just about a much fun  as you can have with a song, that’s the free flowing  ‘Antelope’ .

Hill brings in some electronics and yet another change of pace.  ‘Woking’ again a nice song this time, with a big ‘Elbow’ feel. Final song Icebreakers is just plain beautiful in a folk groove, with added thunder.

So in conclusion a superb ep that certainly leaves us eager for more.

Diagrams play the End of The Road Festival this weekend and the physical EP still seems to be on Amazon, so get it while you still can.

Pete

9/11

From the opening cords and blast of horns we are comfortable, warm, cosy and happy in familiar territory. ‘A Candle's Fire’ the opening song is pure and simply, sublime. 

‘The Rip Tide’ is (as usual with Beirut) short at 33 minutes but, I guess as the saying goes, "always leave them wanting more"
 
Santa Fe is equally impressive as the opener, pure joy. ‘East Harlem’ is a change of pace to Zach Condon’s delicate side. ‘Goshen’ has beautiful piano set against Zak's vocals and that ever present brass chimes in.
 
On ‘Paynes Bay’ the horns (is there a clarinet there?) are heart wrenching at the start before the song catches pace and the title song, The Rip Tide' is an epic.
 
Like the early autumn chill that has been affecting the UK in recent days, you may well have been grabbing that jumper out of the cupboard for extra warmth; that's exactly what The Rip Tide offers.
 
I'll leave the rest of the album for you to discover because, every home should own this album and yes after the final song 'Port of Call' we are left wanting more!
 
10/11
Pete
 
1. A Candle's Fire 
2. Santa Fe 
3. East Harlem 
4. Goshen 
5. Payne's Bay 
6. The Rip Tide 
7. Vagabond 
8. The Peacock 
9. Port Of Call 
 

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I listened to this album a lot on my summer holiday, so it’s good to know that it sounds as good on a wet Tuesday in London as it did on a sunny beach in Italy. I recently described this album to someone as ‘early Pink Floyd visits The Beatles on a journey via Sly Stone’, and although that doesn’t cover all of the influences on display here, it should give you some idea of the type of sounds you’ll hear within. 

Album opener ‘Ffunny Ffriends’ is the first track I heard from the record (as is often the case it came from the Tom Ravenscroft show on BBC 6music). It’s a good introduction to the band, with shuffling drumbeats, a catchy guitar line and melodic but slightly fuzzy vocals. ‘Bicycle’ (a sequel to Pink Floyd’s ‘Bike’ perhaps?) feels almost like The Kinks musically, although the lyrics - ‘All of you can eat my dust’ - are decidedly modern. Next track ‘Thought Ballune’ opens with some guitars stolen from The Beatles, and matches them with an equally Beatles-esque chorus. 

‘Jello and Juggernauts’ is a slightly more mellow track with some typically psychedelic words, while ‘How Can You Luv Me’ ups the pace, with a funky bassline (particularly in the Disco middle eight!) and some equally rhythmic drumming. 

Next up is ‘Nerve Damage’ which starts and ends with some annoying Peter Frampton / Bon Jovi guitar/voice tube sounds, but in between becomes the punkiest thing on the album, very much in the Stooges line. Meanwhile ‘Little Blu House’ is one of the most melodic tracks, a 60s tune fitted to a simple drum machine which comes in at exactly 3 minutes – the perfect length for a pop song. Then ‘Strangers are Strange’ brings the funky bass back. 

‘Boy Witch’ brings back the ghost of Syd Barrett – it’s very Floyd-influenced and could easily be a track from their first album. On the iTunes version of the album there are a couple of bonus tracks – ‘I Want To Be Left To My Own Devices’ and ‘Cyrus’ Theme’. The former is a distorted acoustic ditty, while the latter is an engaging instrumental. 

Overall then, an album that draws its influences from each of the past five decades, and wraps them up in something that’s both comfortingly familiar and enjoyably unusual. 

8/11 

Russell 

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