What does it sound like?:
Tweeted by Prince (and what could be a greater statement of worth?), this is the 7th album by the artful pop maestros, showing Sunderland remains a centre of remarkable creativity. All those clever oblique pop artists you like; Talking Heads, XTC, Bowie, Ben Folds, Kate Bush, Beach Boys, proper (pre 1977) 10cc, Prince, Todd Rundgren when he wants to play to his strengths … some say they can hear Steely Dan (I don’t hear it, myself) and Pink Floyd (again, “maybe”, or maybe NOT). Beautifully played, composed, and recorded, this is ostensibly a song cycle about life after WW1, but to my ears doesn’t sound like it, maybe as the music is so contemporary. I hear a pile of corking, interesting songs with oblique musical bridges and directions. An gallant song about gender differences here, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles there, air traffic control … this is not “Whitesnake”. I’ve probably listened to it half a dozen times and am still trying to work out how such accessible music slips through given the twists and turns.
What does it all *mean*?
“Record collection rock” has been a working strategy for a number of bands; Oasis and Primal Scream are pretty much nothing more than their influences (OOAA), and that’s not necessarily a bad thing: if the originals are not around, new combinations of the working tropes are going to be tried, and some of them will still amuse and entertain. This is a Quietus-type band, so perhaps this is what “the kids” are listening to. If so, I am very pleased to hear it, as the tradition of decent arty pop-rock is what made British music what it is. I really hope these folks do well out of this album. I will be going to their gig in Nottingham in February. It’s nice to like a new band.
Goes well with…
Cooking, marking, last minute panic with the Inland revenue spreadsheet…
Might suit people who like…
See above; XTC, earlier 10cc, PreFab Sprout, Beach Boys, later Beatles, Kate Bush, Ben Folds, clever art-pop/rock with tunes.