Just when you think the art of sumptuous, widescreen harmonies have been consigned to the past, along come The Heavy Blinkers to put it back on the musical menu. Well, let me qualify that, this is a reissue, but even 13 years ago when this first saw the light of day, that statement still held true. Given the state of the music industry today, the one grooving to the cash till ring of commercial success up in their ivory towers not the cool one I get to rub shoulders with at least, its re-emergence couldn’t have been better timed.
The Heavy Blinkers sound very much doffs its hat to classic harmony pop artisans such as Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach but is also a sonic sibling to the likes of Mercury Rev, though without the strange mythology and lyrical mysticism. If their brand of chamber pop exudes a 60’s feel it is only because it’s a style that has rarely been bettered since that decade, or so we thought, as this is proof that at least in some quarters it never really went out of fashion.
The music is supple and sophisticated, wonderfully textured and poignantly orchestrated. The instruments dovetail seamlessly providing a smooth and intricate backdrop full of fleeting motifs, half heard details and clever weaves of sound, a far cry from todays “is it my turn in the spotlight yet” approach to arranging tracks. Even when smooth brass or swelling organ takes the lead role it does as part of a team effort rather than over-dominant showboating wig-out.
The Night…feels simultaneously wonderfully disconnected from modern times and brilliantly ahead of the curve. It honours a style of music many of us thought lost and reminds us that times move on but great song writing is still great song writing.