New Soundbites: September 11

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A Saddle Creek surprise drops out of nowhere while Brian Eno polishes a turd.



Son, Ambulance: Someone Else’s Deja VuAlbum of the Week
Saddle Creek
Another day, another dollar. Dumping bag and coat and retiring upstairs with a brew and biscuit, ho hum. Flicking through an well-thumbed edition of The Stool Pigeon, a late June day was drawing to a close.
Sifting through the post revealed nothing of note, save Saddle Creek’s Son, Ambulance.
Who? The press release didn’t exactly reveal much, but nods to Floyd, The Faint and psychedelia seemed a fair starting point – not to mention a line suggesting Someone Else’s Deja Vu may be ‘the perfect accompaniment to a day where your responsibilities might include reading a book, petting your cat or thinking of an old friend‘…
Well, my eyes were too tired to read any longer, old friends would have to wait and I don’t have a cat – so the record player seemed a good place to start.
It was past 1am and my eyes were past sagging when that moment arrived. I can only compare it to when my mate Reg plays The Walker Brothers’ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore, and he rises out of his arm chair, knocks his head backwards, reaches his arms skyward and sings his bloody heart out.
That moment arrived on album centre-piece Yesterday Morning, a delicate oboe-led lullaby soaked in regret and yearning and forced my tired bones off the bed, scampering for the record case and that damned press release. ‘This is every letter I never wrote, it’s every dream I never told, every selfish aspiration… Yesterday morning, after all is said and done, I’d give the world to see you.’
It’s a stand up, reach to the heavens and sing your bloody heart out moment.
To be fair, there’s little that touches this incredible track, but what Someone Else’s Deja Vu does so incredible well is creep up on you unsuspectingly with luscious instrumentation and engaging vignettes that it’s hard not to be engaged, while – such is chief songwriter Joseph Knapp‘s tender delivery – being whisked into a state of complete togetherness.
This togetherness is all the more surprising given Knapp’s want for tackling every genre under the sun; Simon & Garfunkel folk (Horizons), samba (A Girl in New York City), spaghetti western country (Awakening) and ambient space-grooves (Legend of Lizeth) are all tackled with aplomb while Knapp paints pictures as evocatively and effectively as label mate Conor Oberst.
So much so, that late June morning turned out better, much better, than planned.
7.5/10
For fans of: Starchasers, Bright Eyes, trainspotters.

Pop Levi: Never Never Love
Counter/Ninja Tune
Ooh, he’s such a tease Mr Levi. Teasing us with his enigmatic playfulness, teasing us with his horny toad performance and, disappointingly, teasing us with another half-arsed record.
Like its predecessor, The Return To Form Black Majick Party, there’s a number of mini pop jewels on offer but frustratingly there’s much here which fails to match – or even come close to – his very obvious influences.
So for every Dita Dimoné (a slice of sublime Prince Parade-era pop) or Wannamama (like T-Rex on smarties) there’s a Mai’s Space (Gawd awful electro cheese) or Everything & Finally (pap 80s camp gloop reminiscent of a Fine Young Cannibals C-side).
C’mon Mr Pop, time to stop teasing us!
6/10
For fans of: Show offs.

Times New Viking: Rip It Off
Matador
Oodles of indie-than-thou cats have been pushing this lot since the turn of the year, and while there’s a scattering of pop ditties lurking beneath the WALL of treble, hiss and ear-shredding metallic drone I’m not for one minute buying the ‘best new band of the year’ tag that’s been smacked on their cutesy little arses.
So yes they’ve featured in Vice, yes they’ve spawned a new music phrase (shitgaze – says it all) and yes they’re sucking off Yo La Tengo – but no, they’re not all that.
They’re due in town as part of Samzidat‘s new gig nights, judge for yourself.
5/10
For fans of: Tin, Tin Tin, Tinnitus

Witch: Paralyzed
Teepee
Witch are the audio equivalent of pigs rolling around in shit. Their shit is grinding, post-grunge, gnarly dirge-scuzz with King Grot J. Mascis manning the drums.
Problem is while they clearly loving wading neck deep in sludge, you’re more likely to feign indifference and wonder whether Slavin Bilic has taken a contract on Theo Walcott‘s small plastic action man head.
4.5/10
For fans of: Men with lank, long, thinning, grey hair.

Coldplay: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Parlophone
About 18 months ago, Brian Eno visited Liverpool and gave an invigorating talk concerning everything from the Net, philosophy, why he’s building a clock that’ll outlive humanity and why us as people don’t think enough. It was fascinating and I left the room spring in step and thinking what a remarkable dude that guy is.
Well, hats off to Brian, for jazzing up Britain’s heavyweight dullards and making 30% of Viva La Vida listenable and almost approaching interesting. That’s almost, let’s not get carried away.
Still, one sight of Chris Martin dressed as a French revolutionary walking crown in hand singing ‘I used to rule the world… Oh, who would ever want to be king?’ must be enough to make even Bono vomit.
4/10
For fans of: U2, Kelloggs All Bran

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