Here We Go Magic

Locust's picture
What's it called?: 
A Different Ship
What does it sound like?: 
I know I’ve mentioned this album once or twice in passing on the old blog, but I thought I ought to write a proper review to hopefully convince a few of you to make the investment – it’s well worth it! The album begins with a 50 second intro that sounds like a journey on the post-apocalyptic sewer that used to be the Amazon river. Unknown animals threaten from the surrounding darkness and a tribe of Afterword survivors are tweeting each other rhythmically on bongos. Usually these intros (and interludes, outros, hidden “hilarities”) only serve to annoy me, but in this case – because the rest of the album is so perfect, and the intro ties in with the ending of the last track – I don’t mind it. What follows is a string of beautiful melodies that always chooses the narrow and unexpected path over the well-trodden and safely mapped out route. Once you think you know where it’s going, it turns suddenly to show something exciting. This is uplifting grown-up pop that makes you feel intelligent by assuming that you are. It mixes the chilly and precise intellectualism of modern jazz and prog with the driving curiosity of a big warm beating heart. A lyrical theme of melancholy solitude and the leap of faith that it takes to bridge the distance between yourself and other people ties the nine songs together, Luke Temple’s voice is a stream of clear water, with a hint of altar boy at evening mass. Without really sounding anything like them I think of Steely Dan and the later albums by XTC when I listen to this, but I’m rather useless at finding comparisons so you may take that with a grain of salt… It’s the unexpected twists and turns of the music I guess. My favourite tracks are Hard To Be Close, Make Up Your Mind, Alone But Moving and the title track A Different Ship, ending the album. Mid-through that track we once again embark on that journey along the sewer, leaving the jungle behind us sailing towards open water. And then you press Play and take the trip one more time…
What does it all *mean*?: 
Album of the year ? So far – Yes!
Goes well with …: 
Might suit people who like …: 
XTC, Steely Dan, Field Music


and I read about it here first on The Afterword. Yeah!
Definitely recalls the more mesmerising, cyclical riffs of XTC and a touch of Steely Dan in the vocals. Clever stuff but it's not difficult and it's got a groove to it.

One cheer choked at birth because of disappointed expectations. Good album, definitely worth further investigation. Love the soundcapes. Slight tendency toward sameness and monotony - these guys could not swing in a hammock, so Steely Dan references are inappropriate. Maybe that third cheer will escape my throat one day!

What it reminds me of more than anything else is Scottish Pop. Everything from Postcard through to The High Llamas and Belle & Sebastian. Throw in some motorik beats and VU and I think that covers a high proportion of the musical bases with which it touches sides. Best of all is the way they've managed to turn all these influences into a coherent album that rewards repeated play.

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