What does it sound like?:
The template for the songs on ‘Ones and Sixes’ is a deceptively simple one. An economical rhythm track of percussion – perhaps just bass drum or woodblocks and cymbal – given weight by bass or keyboard. Scratchy arpeggioed chords on electric guitar which occasionally breaks out into feedback laden squalls of sound. And above it all the cool but glorious harmonised vocals of Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk, intoning downbeat lyrics which repeat phrases like ‘All you innocents make a run for it’ and ‘We couldn’t wait any longer/We couldn’t get through the border’. The pace is generally funereal; ‘What Part of Me’s mid-tempo pace make it seem positively celebratory. It’s a chilly bleak old world, but the richness and beauty of Parker and Sparhawk’s vocals, and the gradual accumulative build of the tracks makes this anything but a miserable listen. This is pop’s version of minimalism, and like a fine Steve Reich or Arvo Part composition it uses repetition and economy to build a sonic mood which is so much more than the sum of its parts.
What does it all *mean*?
it’s a fine example of an album by a band who choose their own path, and pay little attention to fashionable trends. They do what they do very well indeed and this album is part of a body of work which stands apart and is quietly very impressive
Goes well with…
a wintry night outside; a log fire and a good quality smooth vintage red wine inside
Might suit people who like…
the kind of music which is downbeat in its mood buy utterly uplifting in the brillance of its execution