I am not lefthanded: Time To Leave EP
I am not lefthanded are a London based, two third Irish one third UK act, and are my guilty pleasure- I love these guys, apart from their awful name…. They have a great image and have a great understated, delicate honesty to their approach to a song.
The Ep combines tracks that are beautifully arranged, leaving each instrument room to breathe and fulfil itself onto the next track.
From the piano led “Lifelines’ and its subtle cello governed by front woman Katherine’s’ pitch perfect offering- it makes for simply great post grungy music that I think is very rare nowadays.
The thing about this band is that they have a definite sound that is ‘their’ sound, and they do it so very well.
Mugger Dave: What’s She Doing Here?
‘What’s She Doing Here’ is the type of album you would find playing rather loudly at student party, whether it will surpass that existence, is another question.
One could see how this album would do well on the local circuit but it lacks considerable direction, continuity and good standard production, well basic production really. The first song is called .. ‘Intro’ and it is actually lovely, it has a slow drone to it but it quickly changes in direction. There’s a couple of low tempo songs similar to the sound of Elliot Smith and at large its recorded so roughly that it just may have passed as lo-fi only there is obvious full band noise going on in the mix. The lack of ability to stay on form and on key is something that simply should not have passed by the ear of a good producer. The pitch doesn’t suit their lead singer’s (Simon Noble) vocal range and at times the harmonies are so way off that you actually just switch to the next track.
There is however, one track on the entire album that is just so radio friendly, that it may give this band hope. It is called ‘Got A Lot On My Mind’. This should have been the obvious direction they should have went with.
Here is a band that you would love to hate, but find yourself liking, due to one incredible song.
Ed Harcourt: Lustre
We can all come to the conclusion that in recent years, there has been a foray and influx of “smart” singer-songwriters: artists who’ve spent time getting to know their craft, polishing their lyrics to a hard shine and all the while making sure the music is of equal quality to complement those ideas that spring from the essence of life……some do it good, some bad and some do it with such exquisite pristine awareness that they embody the sheer manifestation of a Songwriting legend. Ed Harcourt is that embodiment. Hell if I was a god I’d ordain him. In his latest album LUSTRE, we see Ed following in the footsteps of his elders.
Unalike some modern songsmiths such as Rufus Wainwright & Damien Rice, Ed Harcourt takes inspiration from his heroes and in turn churns out witty, intelligently brilliant songs. And although he might not be as familiar to listeners as the other artists here, the sheer quality of his work should guarantee him a place within their ranks.
Lustre begins with the sound scopes of an angelic choir, which ushers Harcourt to join in to sing the title tune. Showing off that ability of his to produce thought provoking lush melodies that marry well into the lyrics. The song “Lustre” suggests the inner beauty of utmost sadness, as it shines on death and despair. In lyrics like: “Lustre from the ruby red blood on my hands when you pull out all the thorns”, and “Lustre when the dream is dead”. ..makes the grace of the song sound beautiful in a time of utmost despair. Here lies a master of laying upbeat melodies over dark, unsettling lyrics.
My favourite track is Church of no religion. His attack and realisation of the actions of the Church is nothing short of masterful brilliance. “You think that all your cardinal sins will stay underground, you’ve ruined almost everything so step down…”
Lady gaga is putting Madonna to shame and Ed Harcourt just may be intimidating Mr Cohen.
Turin Brakes: Outbursts
Turin Brakes is Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian. Eschewing organic acoustica in favour of soft-rock styling’s, and accumulating bodies in the process, Olly and Gale play it rather safe on this record. For the most part, the record is written, produced and performed by just the two of them , which leads to the conclusion that Turin Brakes are harking back to their edgier origins. Minor the major label politics and et viola a new scene is set that sees them rest comfortably in music that they want to make.
Straight off the opening track and lead single Sea Change has a folky strum soon joined by a thumping kick drum and Olly’s trademark timbre: “Six billion backs against the wall / Now do we walk or run?” It’s a leap back to their 2001 urgency, everything intact, everything immediate.
What I love about this band is their signature minor chord micro-masterpieces, and soaring chorus underpinned by infectious acoustic licks- they just do what they do with such style and grace. They are a band that have always been able to craft and strip back of any unnecessary production in the music. Then again I guess its that undeniable ability that put Turin Brakes on the map in the first place.
The real highlight on this album for me, lies in: Paper Heart’s heartbreaking waltz and delicate harmonies.
All in all this is an album that you grow into, a first listen with dilute the experience, it demands time. So do yourself and favour and breathe, sleep, drink the Turin Brakes album. Their unique formula of mixing old country and blues principles to shimmering effect, endows the album with a grace that only this band find effortless.
Outbursts captures and builds upon the intangible beauty of their original debut effort. Turin Brakes are, once again, a must-hear.