I knew if I was persuaded to venture back onto Facebook it would end badly. Less than three days in, I am about to disappoint people and there is nothing I can do to stop myself.
A very nice man, Gary Sansom, from Dufflecoat Records invited me, via Facebook, to review a couple of their forthcoming releases. I did warn him that I would be impelled to give an honest opinion and so I have. If you want to look on the bright side, any publicity is better than none and, indeed, it might work in the bands’ favour. So many people hate me and hate what I write that those people may well adore the work of these bands. Alternatively, it may be possible to take the odd phrase out of context and use it to appear as though I am endorsing the band. Anyway, seeing these reviews are unlikely to appear anywhere else now, I thought I may as well include them here as I hate to see hard work be put to no purpose. Sorry, Gary.
Some Gorgeous Accident – Sleep In Symmetry
Is it some gorgeous accident that I have spent several days wondering what it means to sleep in symmetry? I have visions of people contorting their bodies into precise geometric shapes which are then replicated in bedrooms throughout the country. And then what happens if one person snores? Do the rest have to follow suit so that those of us still awake in the wee small hours of the morning mistakenly think Ian Brown has moved in next door? Having heard the record, I concluded that there was symmetry: every track sounded the same. And looking at my scrawled notes, I discovered that by track 5 I had lost the will to live and, as there were no subsequent notes, I must have drifted off. So ‘Sleep in Symmetry’ ultimately suggests that listening to this record will result in a near catatonic coma for the listener.
The opening song, ‘See You Shine’, sounds like The Dream Academy whilst the following track, ‘Tracing Baguio’, is a song that Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays could pull off but here sounds emaciated because of the limitations of the vocalist. Elsewhere there are intimations of New Order in guitar and bass lines and similarities to Stina Nordenstam, whilst the final song could be a backing track for a lost Cocteau Twins’ record. And that is the main problem with this collection of songs. They keep reminding you of other artists – but artists that are better. In addition, the female vocalist sounds like a child bride being asked to perform unspeakable sexual acts against her will.
There are two moments that awaken the listener from their slumber. The first is on the opening track when a wave of guitar unexpectedly rushes in catching your breath and secondly on ‘Blush’ when the child bride sounds as though she has been in front of the mirror miming into a hair dryer when she accidently switches it on and has to sing over it. More moments like these may have roused me from my symmetrical sleep.
The Psychocandies – You Feel The Sun ( I Kiss the Floor)
If you are going to name yourself after the best Jesus and Mary Chain LP, you had better be able to back it up. The Reid brothers had tunes coming out of every orifice but chose to disguise the fact by layering a wall of feedback over them. The Psychocandies wouldn’t recognise a tune if it was intravenously administered to them and have merely replicated the form with none of the substance. Initially, there is the hint of something interesting. The EP’s opener, ‘Laura Palmer’s Death’, actually conjures up images from David Lynch’s great TV series with Duane Eddy twangy guitar and ethereal backing vocals. Unfortunately, it is, by far, the best track here. Songs 2 and 3 have vocals so far down in the mix, it’s like listening to someone shouting at the bottom of a well while the band plays on the surface. The lack of inspiration can be evidenced by some of the song titles: ‘You Got no Soul’ and ‘Psychotic’ close the EP, the former a slowed down version of what’s gone before whilst the latter is a second instrumental, a guitar drone going nowhere. On this evidence, The Psychocandies are more candy than psycho.