Natural Causes –  Anton Barbeau (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

21686364_10155773086762718_2635670891036125519_nYou can tell a man, they say, by the company he keeps. Okay, hardly the most up to date cliche to kick off a 2018 music review with but apt none the less. Apt because the mercurial Anton keeps excellent company and a quick scan through the musical posse who have helped him record this album reveals an ex-Soft Boy, a brace of Corner Laughers, people who bandy around names such as Smash Mouth, Neil Finn, The Pretenders and Sir Paul of McCartney as previous employers and even the marvellous Nick Saloman. With a line up such as that the results can only be great, how could they not?

For those new to the strange and beguiling world from which Anton draws his songs, very simply put he blends the later era Beatles acid laced sonics with a more driven new wave, post-punk edge, particularly when he picks up the pace. And when he does pick up the pace he creates songs like Just Passing By, a rarified rock groover that any number of Paisley Underground acts from back in the day would have fought to the death to get their hands on. But his more usual sonic comfort zone is a gentler, pastel pop place, usually with a very keen eye for a good, and often hippyfied, title.

It’s the Coffee That Makes the Man Go Mad is Barbeau-ism in a nutshell, intriguing title, joyous pop strains, sumptuous harmonies, lilting and chiming tones and a middle section that heads into a strange sort of medieval monastic chant and the suggestion that the inspiration for songs such as this has more to do with something stronger than coffee. Magazine Street is a great slice of pop-rock and Summer of Gold evokes all the hazy joyousness that the name suggests. Being an AB album there is obviously room to wander into odder territory, its pretty much expected and Mumble Something sounds like buzz saws and angry wasps were involved in the sonic finish…in a good way…whilst Creepy Tray is a strange and exotic piece of chamber pop.

If you are a fan of Anton already, this is classic stuff and you probably already have a pre-order in, if you are new to Barbeauland then this is also a perfect place to start and if you have ever wondered how you make an album that walks a fine line between the cultish and the commercial, that is infectious yet original, accessible yet maintaining its integrity, then this is definitely for you.

Advertisements

King’s Daughters Home For Incurables – Karla Kane (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

KingsDaughtersFrontCoverI don’t know why I should be surprised that someone from the sun strewn West Coast of America should deliver one of the most authentic sounding folk records of the year so far. It isn’t like music belongs to any one place or people; it’s in the air for any who wish to hear it. King’s Daughters Home For Incurables is nothing less than a love letter to this damp green island, the folk music it has produced and the people who have made it. As a member of the Corner Laughers, Karla has had the perfect excuse to travel the Old World soaking up its traditions and culture, history and quirks, and whilst her main musical vehicle blends these vibes with a myriad of other flavours, here the fingerprint is more identifiable.

This is certainly the music of Western Europe, most probably England and perhaps emanating from a folk club in the dark back room of a pub. It is the sound of past eras of folk music as distilled through the 60’s folk revival, polished and evolved for the 21st century. Tracks such as The Lilac Line bubble over with the joyous pop vibe that comes so naturally to her, Mother of the Future is a distant echo of the primal scream and All Aboard is a simulated train ride using only a piano but mainly the songs fit with more expected folk territory.

These are the pathways wandered by everyone from Shirley Collins, who gets name checked and Martin Newell who appears here, and modern torchbearers Kate Rusby and Sarah McQuaid. That isn’t to say that this is in any way a pastiche or a retrospective glance, this is a homage, a celebration of the genre but one that moves it forward at just the right gentle pace. It is both familiar ground and fertile soil for new growth.

If The Corner Laughers are a high on life, mystical beach party, then this is a back garden musing, probably involving topics such as this year’s runner beans with a strong cup of tea and one eye on the weather. England hasn’t subdued her, it has seduced her and the result is music that is no less brilliant but with the pace and poise that fits the more reserved rural pulse beating at the heart of the songs

The Top Three – The most read articles on Dancing About Architecture for April ‘15

Gold Medal Position: Night of The Hunter – The Creature With The Atom Brain.

1503420_10155323056410647_9107706188574548136_n “Rooted in hypnotic psychedelic grooves that speak to the heart rather than the head, this platform is used as a base from which to assault the senses with weapons as diverse as clattering eastern vibes, skewed Latin guitars, dark disco-dirges, psychedelic wig-outs and anything else that passes across their eclectic vision. It seems the perfect way to put the decade long project to bed, with their most consistent album to date, or at least one that sums up most concisely the collision of ideas that could all too often confused the listener.”

Read in full HERE

Silver Medal Position: Pandemonium – Moors and McCumber.

10526068_815998821757420_2611027124562375576_n“Although it is easy to see how Moors and McCumber construct their songs, just because they are using the same musical tools, as their competition doesn’t mean that they bear much resemblance. On the surface perhaps but there is a depth and quality to the craftsmanship here that is rarely seen and even labels as great as “the new Simon and Garfunkel” still don’t quite capture what is at work here, though My Heart is Open is a song Paul Simon would have loved to have his name on I’m sure.”

Read in full HERE

Bronze Medal Position : Matilda Effect – The Corner Laughers.

matilda-effect-300x300“Their brand of Sunshine pop is just what the world needs to remind us of the joy of making music rather than the cynical careerism that seems to be the norm these days. By taking liberal doses of 60’s girl bands, soul, folk and acid-tinged pop, the infectiousness of The Beach Boys, the retro psychedelia of Redd Kross or Jellyfish, plus no small amount of fun, optimism and joyful abandonment, they have quite possibly created the perfect pop album. Let me repeat that, THE PERFECT POP ALBUM!”

Read in full HERE

Matilda Effect – The Corner Laughers (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

matilda-effect-300x300There is always something very special about bands making music that sits outside time and fashion and if lead single, Fairytale Tourist, hinted at this quality in The Corner Laughers then it still didn’t prepare me for what was to follow on the full album. Their brand of Sunshine pop is just what the world needs to remind us of the joy of making music rather than the cynical careerism that seems to be the norm these days. By taking liberal doses of 60’s girl bands, soul, folk and acid-tinged pop, the infectiousness of The Beach Boys, the retro psychedelia of Redd Kross or Jellyfish, plus no small amount of fun, optimism and joyful abandonment, they have quite possibly created the perfect pop album. Let me repeat that, THE PERFECT POP ALBUM!

Whilst others preen and pose to look cool, The Corner Laughers effortlessly ooze said cool without even trying. More earnest bands may be trying to predict fashions and play the game of looking the part but The Corner Laughers are happier speeding along the highway towards the beach with the radio on and the top down. And whilst you concentrate on Matilda Effects’ gloriously celebratory, life affirming and fun nature it is easy to overlook how wonderfully produced the album is. It is clean-limbed and polished to perfection, a brilliant balance of solid, tight, well separated playing and the dreamy vocals that Karla Kane does so well.

If you miss albums full of innocence, music woven from lost childhood summers, fairground wonderment and fairy-tale expectations, then this is for you. Did I mention that it is the perfect pop album?

New Music of The Day – XX: Fairytale Tourist – The Corner Laughers

11070241_10155341698370037_1243076379944745447_nThe Corner Laughers release their new surf-pop single, “Fairytale Tourist,” from the upcoming album, Matilda Effect, due out June 12. The track’s carefree sunshine-pop melody and whimsical imagery is the ideal soundtrack to summer.

 
“Fairytale Tourist” takes its story to heart – weaving imaginative lyrics and infectious instrumentation into a breezy, effortless pop ride. Karla Kane’s dreamy musings teleport us to a land where anything and everything is possible. The lyrics “Let’s go out all dressed up fancy, make believe and take a chance on city lights. Wander off into the forest like some Grimm’s Fairytale tourist…” express the track’s bright and wistful nature. Jangly ukulele, chorus “bops” in harmony and blissful vocal delivery send the listener on a journey into youthful abandon.


The Corner Laughers have effectively staked their brand of smart sunshine pop without lyrical limitation. Paired with  this charming video, “Fairytale Tourist” encourages taking a risk, dreaming without worry, and embracing the spirit of summer adventure.

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑