With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

‘Counting Pennies In The Afterlife’ – Colour Me Wednesday May 17, 2018


The sophomore album from the exquisitely fabulous Colour Me Wednesday is released today on Dovetown Records. It has the best album title that I have seen in years, ‘Counting Pennies In The Afterlife’ and on first listen I can say without a single shadow of a doubt that it is a pop masterpiece. Their first album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’ from 2013 was very, very good but for me this one tops it. I believe it has a really summery feel to it and at times is evocative of the finest late 60s US west coast rock. But at its core it remains, as you would expect from Colour Me Wednesday, a truly British album. If you were looking for a dud track here you wouldn’t find it.

Album opener “Sunriser” kicks off the whole collection with sonic energy and harmonies to die for. The harmonies on this LP surely have their roots in some of the finest Motown and Phil Spector harmonies. I would also argue that some of the jangly indie guitar riffs are almost Byrdsian in their construct. The production is crystal clear throughout and there is sometimes a real incongruity between the depth (and sometimes darkness) of the lyric and the happy vibe of the music. That contradiction, most notable on “Sad Bride”,  is something that the Smiths were masters at, well Colour Me Wednesday are just as skilled with that as Morrissey and Marr were. Are Colour Me Wednesday a punk band? Maybe not in sound but in attitude, approach, boldness, appetite, belief and passion they are 100% punk.

Like their label mates the Tuts this band is political, but not just fashionable pin badge political, they understand life and what it is like to be human and that is writ large in their words. Their songs tell their stories with intelligence, integrity and a soulfulness that is unmatched by many of their contemporaries. One particular lyric, from “Exposure” made me think deeply, “you get one life and you can do more than just survive”. Surely a mantra for living in the 21st century. After two spins so far my favourite songs are “Tinfoil”, “Boyfriend’s Car” and “Edge Of Everything” but that is highly likely to change each listen, largely because every one of the eleven tracks is an indie pop masterstroke. The post song little girl spoken/ sung interlude at the end of “Not My Turf” is bizarre, weird, menacing, disturbing and wonderful. That has to be an adult voice treated by production wizardry right? Jen, Harriet, Jaca and Laura have put together a record that is clearly a contender for album of the year. Is it also the best album ever? Some people believe it might be!

 

 

Remember Who You Are – Daniel Versus The World February 6, 2017


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Sadly I missed the Kickstarter campaign for this album from the talented and magnificent Daniel Versus The World. ‘Remember Who You Are’ is another fine release from Dovetown Records, the label that brought you Colour Me Wednesday and the Tuts among others. The album came out last year and I purchased the CD version a few weeks ago. The songs are all wonderfully catchy pop tunes, most of which grab you very quickly and bury themselves in your brain. Lyrically Mr Stocker is a great talent and he and the band have the chops to back up those often sublime lyrics.

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I find the music and singing sometimes reminiscent of early Elton John or Billy Joel. But these words are not words that Elton could have even dreamt of singing back in the day, although as a great campaigner for the LGBT community I reckon Reg would enjoy this record. The album is dedicated to ‘all the angry queer punx’ which is in itself a fabulously bold statement especially in the dark days of so-called president Trump. (I somehow doubt that the Tango Prez will like Daniel Versus The World, but hey that’s the orange comb-overs loss!)

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The album’s manifesto is most clear on opening track “Second Class Citizen” which relates to the treatment of gay people by many in this ‘modern’ society of ours. I find it incredible and horrifying that there are still people out there that continue to persecute minorities. Sadly it is often people of my generation that are guilty of such misinformed arrogance and hatred. Yes I am a middle-aged/ old straight white bloke, but I am also an Earthling. I totally accept people for who are what they are I have never been bothered by skin colour or sexuality. If you are a good person then I reckon I’ll probably get on with you, if you’re not then I’m pretty sure that I won’t!

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“Thank You” is currently my favourite song on this collection. On first listen you might think of it as a heartbreak song, however while it certainly does seem to be about Daniel being spurned by a former lover the message turns to glass half full with the line ‘thanks for making me, me’. I should mention the band who are very tight and offer a more than accomplished canvas for Daniel’s song paintings. Laura Ankles on drums, Jaca Freer on bass and Carmela Pietrangelo on guitar. Daniel Stocker himself plays piano and obviously vocals too.

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The CD, download and music streaming age make it easy to skip tracks on albums, however ‘Remember Who You Are’ is one of those gems on which there are no tracks that you need to skip. Another favourite of mine is “Little Blue” especially for its couplet around ‘love will make you six feet tall, but I’m six-foot three’. In a parallel universe “I’m So Fun” has topped the charts for the last twelve weeks. Next week my favourite Daniel Versus The World songs will probably different, but what is wrong with that? If Daniel did take on the world right now he might not win but he would give that mean old world a few good body blows at least. I recommend that you buy, download or stream this album immediately, no on second thoughts that is not a recommendation it’s an order!

 

 

 
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