Wednesday, 19 August 2009



The Big Pink come on like a smoothed out, well ironed version of the Jesus & Mary Chain, in a way benefiting from such a glossy makeover while at the same time struggling to appear sincere and pure of origin.

As the drums open up the store a person would be forgiven for thinking they were about to be introduced to “Life’s What You Make It” by Talk Talk, the drum sound similarity is just uncanny. Soon however all gets revealed as being a dank, nonchalant sheet metal assault on the senses which does truly exhilarated in its execution. There is a fair bit of power attached to this record and its scorching guitar sound but not really quite enough to get overly excited about as the storm soon descend into nothing.

Unfortunately this is a band it feels almost impossible to fall in love with. In addition to the obvious comparisons made early they are also reminiscent of the Ravonettes, which while not necessarily being a bad thing, is not a great thing either. There is just not a band feel attached to the act, truly it feels more like an exploration in the studio and a solo effort that is perhaps a tad too clean without enough external influence.

In the process of this band going overground and reaching daytime it comes with a sense of keenness to pander and impress, one that you feel will eventually dilute the sound pushing the glorious guitar sound into the background while the cringeworthy vocals and lyrical content step out more into the forefront. Eventually I can’t help but feel this band will sound like Mansun.

Get it while you can.

Thesaurus moment: fleet.

The Big Pink

Wednesday, 5 August 2009



Described as standing somewhere between “neo-impressionism and electronica”, Isnaj Dui is the vehicle of Katie English who is a classically train flautist experimenting with new music forms and techniques while retaining an appreciation for the tradition of the form and craft.  Her sounds are made from manipulated flutes and homemade instruments to form unique sonic assertions.

A regular question I find myself thinking while listening to these workings is: was the menace already there when they are started or are these acts of being sinister.

The latest version/take of the first track is subtly expansive and could almost be used to suggest that there are other life forms out there making music and making busy.

As things progress so does the anxiety as the second track begins with the kind of excruciating shard of white noise only broken televisions seem able to make.  Then things motion further old school with the reappearance of dot matrix rhythms and a crushing sonic blow in general.  My ears thank the author for keeping it under two minutes.

The following four minutes add another hazy degree to proceedings as the echoing flute soars through proceedings and other a new day rising sensibility before the heaviness of an equally distorted wind instrument adds a gnarly heartbeat and pulse to the ensuing activity.  Then you notice the cowbell and the suggestion of an invader, an alien presence.  Within minutes life has moved from optimistic to pessimistic in a groaning fashion.  That was not polite.

It all closes in dizzying fashion with a hectic stance and subtle stampede.  The contradictions of this version feel like they’re never going to end.

Thesaurus moment: paradoxical.

Front And Follow

Monday, 3 August 2009



Providing something of a vehicle for the finest voices of our generation’s alternative rock voices this is a very solid single making the most of what god has handed them to work with.

This release sees Will Oldham going head to head with Mark Lanegan. A number of years ago I used to belittle the efforts of Oldham to my friend, choosing to instead expound on the offerings of Lanegan as being far superior. This was evening before he had gained a surge in credibility but unsurprisingly I found myself being lambasted, which I think was the intention of my comment in the first place. The words “to me they inhabit different worlds” have always stuck with me. However here they both are exchanging sides of a single, covering each other’s songs. I guess I wasn’t so far after all, undeserving of my indie lambasting.

“Sunrise” is a Lanegan composition to which Oldham does a great service as do the Soulsavers with a classy backing that eventually finds itself drenched with harmonica in most exhilarating and haunting fashion. To his credit Oldham does not attempt to ape Lanegan’s vocals but he does audibly stretch his own range. By the end of proceedings I feel I am listening to the best thing Oldham has done in a very long time. This weighs heavy.

On the flipside Lanegan has a crack at “You Will Miss Me When I Burn”, which in my opinion happens to be one of Oldham’s strongest songs and definitely one of my favourite. Here however Lanegan unfortunately sounds achingly like something towards Bruce Springsteen and as a horrid strings drop in on the action the song is ultimately butchered as it loses it emotional impact as every facet of this interpretation is just wrong. It might as well be fucking Chris Martin covering it for all the impression that it leaves. Scumbag.

Thesaurus moment: standards.

Will Oldham
Mark Lanegan