This time in the album reviews we have the bright soulful folk of the Downtown Merrylegs, the ‘weird-on-purpose rock’ of Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, the clear vision of love from Oxbow’s new record and a remix of a classic slice of Hippy twaddle with Hawkwind.
Downtown Merrylegs – Dourdan
From the first clicks of drumsticks counting the song in, this album has emotions and warmth. The instruments sound like they are made to marry each other and the flow is infectious and beautiful. But it’s all about the voice, that voice has been around, it’s seen all sorts of love and heartbreak, deaths and lives and friends. It’s laughed and shouted but when it sings it finds all of those experiences and they come out as a slightly rough at the edges, honey toned strangely accented tone. It’s a voice to follow down dusty streets, across rain drenched fields and sunny beaches to stand and drown in. This is folk music but not like any folk music I’ve heard before, Charlie, that’s who the voice belongs to, has managed to give it a depth and clarity that perhaps only comes when you bring together different places and times. It’s named for France but the sound is international. Truly, and this is highlighted when the real moment of beauty is the duet sung in French.
It touches on seasons, time, lost and found love and the camaraderie of sitting with friends drinking something of your choice and just existing as the music plays. A wonderful album.
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam – Mortuary Pantomime
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam are one of the bands that we have followed throughout the life of our little website. We saw them numerous times supporting people at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham and then as they headlined. Never playing the same set and always twisting away from what we expected, it’s bloody good to have them back.
The guitars follow the vocals, the drums have a light touch and follow the bass that kind of follows the guitar that might vaguely follow the vocals which switch between singers, harmonies and emotions.
The best moments on a sunshine frisbee sunshine album is when the restrained sound suddenly lets go and the cut loose. They just go and they lose it all in the music. There are moments of plaintive loss and heartache, moments of pure fury and bright shiny laserbeams cutting through the lot. It’s just brilliant, listen to it now.
Oxbow – Love’s Holiday
I’ve got this playing through a bluetooth speaker as I write at a table in the Camber Sands holiday camp, kind of like an army camp for holiday makers, old, tired and adequate for what’s needed. Anyway, as I listened a holiday camp worker came and sorted something, glancing at the speaker and trying not to wince. It was on the last song and as a vision of hell, love and loss, songs don’t come much better,,
There’s a fair bit of wincing with Oxbow, this is an album of love songs and as such, because it’s been created by brutally honest people it’s hard to listen to, easy to relate too and best played really really bloody loud.
It’s intense, full of spikiness and harsh sounds. Immediate, try doing something else while it’s on, and on occasion, beautiful, calm and crystal clear. The vocals go from staring to be released, to crooned to passionate and vulnerable. The music reflects the vocal, or the vocal reflects the music, these people have been making sound together for so long that I imagine it all comes at once,
They say it’s an album of love songs, as long as you remember that love isn’t just sitting holding hands smiling you will get it.
Hawkwind – Warrior On The Edge Of Time – The Steven Wilson Remix
I’m struggling a bit with this one, I mean it’s Hawkwind for God’s sake, back when they actually meant something. Because they did you know. The list of those influenced by them is immense and they were among the frontrunners of the counter culture in the UK. Proper hippies who tried to change stuff through copious clouds of hash smoke. This is a collaboration between the Hawks and Michael Moorcock, British fantasy writer of the time and as such a lot of the lyrics are twaddle. I don’t mean they’re not good, but they are truly twaddle. But even with that, this album is magnificent. There are full psychedelic freak out sections that rise into a groove and just keep going. There are slow clear jazz infused sections with the Moorcock story wibbling on over them. There’s a folky sea sounding track and synths sweeping out over everything. The guitars get harder and the vocal gets more fey. This is the last Hawkwind album to feature Lemmy who was sacked on the eve of it’s release after, as he has put it, having the wrong drugs.. Speed not acid and dope. But their loss was our gain as we all know what he went on to do. This is a great album well worth a listen.
All words by Adrian Bloxham