Sunday, September 21, 2003

So what is going on with gigs in Bristol? First of all next Monday’s gig by The Rapture gets cancelled. Then The Pernice Brothers also pull their upcoming November show. We are starting to take it personally now!

In more positive news, we were delighted to get hold of a promo copy of “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” the new album by Belle and Sebastian, which is due out in a couple of weeks. It has to be said that it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The good news is that Trevor Horn has not turned then into one of his super lush pop bands. The sound is actually quite stark for much of the record, with the vocals very much at the forefront.

I have to say that I love the opening track – Step Into My Office Baby, mainly for it’s wonderfully quirky musical arrangement. I think that the experience of working on the soundtrack to Storytelling must have had a big impact on the band, as this the opening of the song sounds like TV music from some 60’s carton, something like The Pink Panther. Next up is the title track, which on the first few hearings is not particularly strong. Luckily the next track – If She Wants Me, is one of the best ones on the album, a lovely arrangement with super little guitar solo, quickly followed by a gem of an organ solo.

Piazza, New York Catcher has the feel of a folk song. At first I thought the tempo was all wrong, but it’s growing me now. Asleep On A Sunbeam has lead vocals from Sarah Martin initially before Stuart Mudoch joins in. It’s another grower. I’m A Cuckoo does share a melody with a certain Bob Dylan to my ears and has a very 70’s vibe to it. Northern soul is a big passion for several members of the band, and You Don’t Send me, bears witness to that, very nice it is too.

If I’m A Cuckoo showed signs of someone else’s work then, Wrapped Up In Books, owes a heavy debt to the Farmers Boys version of Out In The country. Lord Anthony and If You Find Yourself Caught In Love are plaintive ballads, with the later featuring a rousing workout for the string section. The song Roy Walker has been around for a while and has a bit of a 6th form am-dram feel to it, but its gonna fill the floor at those indie disco’s. The album closer Stay Loose is a strange one, staccato guitar and a bit of a 1979 new wave chorus don’t seem to fit too well on the Belle and Sebastian shoulders, so to my ears it’s a disappointing end to the album. Still further plays will no doubt bring further changes in my opinion.

Fans of Belle And Sebastian should pick up a copy of Under Achievers Please try Harder by fellow Scots Camera Obscura. It’s a bit of a gem, when it comes to 60's infuencend indie pop.

Another disappointing performance from City on Saturday resulted in a 1-0 home defeat, and a mediocre 12th place in the division is not what we were looking for.

Managed to a bit more cycling this morning when Orynthia and I went up to The Downs. I was fine as long nothing came within 50 feet of me. As soon as that happened I started wobbling like a drunkard. Still have to keep trying.

I’ve had confirmation that I’m leaving work at the end of October. I’m very excited!


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