Remember Remember – Remember Remember
“I Just Might”
Mogwai stable-mate Graeme Ronald will not eclipse his fellow Scot peers with this album, but does provide a relaxing alternative to their sonic landscapes. This is the sound of a Sunday morning in a house with good taste. The entirely instrumental sound laps gently at the soul, appropriately sounding like running water on ‘The Swimming’. It caresses the ears with blissed out guitars and loops, but away with such cliché. Remember Remember are not rewriting the book but their instrumental, post-rock quasi-electronica adds an interesting, urban orchestra-like addendum.
The layered samples of guitar, clarinet, percussion, wind-up toys (don’t let it put you off), synths, glockenspiels and so on might seem too strong a concoction for most constitutions, but the sound, although complex feels optimistic, complimentary and lush – like a retiring friend who knows what to say and when.
Mogwai do leave an indelible imprint on the album, and their guiding hand and influence can be felt throughout, so much so as to even credit Stuart Braithwaite’s rhythmic handclaps in the liner notes, but this work is entirely Ronald’s and equally of merit, deserving to stand greater than as an anecdote in their tale.
Deerhunter – Microcastle
“Shot Through The Heart”
To tar Deerhunter with the label ‘easy listening’ is to do them a grand injustice. The album however does sound very lazy, but in an entirely great way, like it was somehow recorded with all the switches only turned up to nine. It sounds summery and laces dreamy, peculiar qualities through that fuzzy, warm haze.
Grandaddy’s ‘Sophtware Slump’ is an immediate point of reference, as is The Shins entire catalogue. The tracks often seem to have an innate rhythm, and this is exacerbated in ‘Agoraphobia’ by assonatic vocals, which elsewhere are gently distorted to further recall alt. heroes Grandaddy.
These influences point the album toward its natural hunting grounds of pop, but a dark shimmer lurks in the shadows that can only be accredited to the shoe-gazing fraternity, and it allows the album’s insular qualities to appear. Also in the shadows, is Brandon Cox’ tendency to embrace the musical anecdote, ‘Green Jacket’ leaves the path well trodden and enters ‘aside’ country. This murky domain of the interlude and skit, here hosts a mid-section of tracks, rather than songs, which make the album difficult to love yet compliment the whole seamlessly, the evocative spoken sample in ‘Saved By Old Times’ seems irrelevant yet wholly congruous.
This understated record matures with each listen and repays dedicated relistening in full. As such, it is not an immediate album, which should serve as praise enough, as good records very rarely are.
Cox was a busy boy in 2008, first releasing under the name of ‘Atlas Sound’ and this at the end of the year, and his output rightly garnered much positive attention. Its only detraction is that is not a little more heavyweight, not quite punchy nor quirky enough to warrant the use of ‘classic’. The album like the sound is best summed up by being nine out of ten, but despite that missing tenth, what has been achieved is a joy to share - easy and rewarding listening therefore.
All The Saints – Fire On Corridor X
Opening track ‘Sheffield’ does not give an accurate feel of what is to come. It opens with staccato drumming and a very convincing impression of listening to alt. heroes Cursive. As enjoyable as listening to Cursive is, the fuzzy guitars belie the pysch. rock ride to come. And boy, then Ride do come, template-like in the mesmeric drumming, shimmering guitars and strong wafts of feedback on offer. Let it be said, that all the dials are squarely turned up to loud.
This is heavy pysch. rock, and genre of choice for the Black Angels, if their vocalist had a smattering more Gallagher in him. And, speaking of swagger, it certainly does. The album comes on with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club style bolshiness, but never goes so far into parody as to draw comparison with, say, Kasabian. Like early BRMC, All The Saints are able to turn it down a notch successfully and sway shadow-like in their psychedelic firelight, as can be heard on the swimmy “Hornett” and acoustic led “Leeds”.
Being label mates with A Place To Bury Strangers, pedal abuse comes as par for the course, but there is clarity in this production, missing in ‘APTBS’. The light-vocoding in ‘Regal Regalia’ allows the eponymous, chest-beating chant of “All the saints” to eschew egotism and embrace their strength of self-belief, the pedal fuzz serving only to support this heavy-weight affront.
Despite sounding a lot like some of the aforementioned acts it must be said, and suffering in terms of overall variety, All The Saints do have a niche of their own at the heavier end of psychedelic rock, a niche that’ll suit small, dark venues with purple and green spots flickering intermittently with a lazy, drum-linked strobe. And, I‘ll be the one down the front looking bruised in the assault-coloured lightshow, but lapping up the punishment all the while.
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