Our Daily Bread 502: The Monochrome Set, Adam Walton, Crows, Plastic Candles…

March 15, 2022

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Rave Reviews Roundup

Singles/EPS.

Papercuts ‘Lodger’
(Labelman) 1st April 2022

The press release describes this lovely slice of 60’s influenced psych as “woozy West Coast Psychedelia”: and for once the press release got it right. It must be a red flag day or at least a woozy psychedelic coloured one, for this is a smashing single, smashing being my word of the day, one that is said in an archetypical working class northern way with flat cap and everything, maybe even a whippet by one’s side and married to a girl called Vera who I shall call our Vera and say our Vera is a grand lass and is partial to a bit of woozy West Coast Psychedelia. So is well chuffed with this foot tapper.

Adam Walton ‘Cloudburst EP’
(The Immediate)

This is a rather beautiful 4 track EP of acoustic wonder; songs that skirt and skate around the mind, plucking at the heartstrings, reminding me how much I used to like Ben And Jason albums and why songs of mellow introspection can sometimes scream and move and excite you as much as an angst ridden punk rocker of a number, as these 4 songs prove. An acoustic guitar and talent for melody is sometimes all you need and Adam Walton has both of these things. An EP to cherish and hold close, and fans of Elliot Smith and McCartney acoustic balladry circa 1968 should really enjoy this.

Pit Pony ‘Black Tar’
(Clue Records)

Ah, the joyful sound of young people with guitars is something I will never get tired of when it is performed with such passion and style. They give one hope for the future, and I think Pit Pony might have a future worth living, with all their angst and youthful musical aggression and attitude. They certainly seem to be a step up from a lot of the alt guitar bands I get clocking up my email. A band to watch I think.

Crows ‘Garden Of England’
(Bad Vibrations Records)

A tromboncino of a track is what we have here. Yes, a true piece of British rock ‘n’ roll or punk ‘n’ roll if you like or, even if you do not like I am at this point in life uncaring one way or another but either way a rather good soundtrack to kick around the decaying corpse of Brexit. Yes, how well did that go.

Oh Boris, you are a cunt, but sadly you are not alone in that field of nationalistic gung ho-ness; how your supporters must be slapping themselves on the back at their good sense because how on earth would we be getting through the pandemic without your leadership qualities, and I am sure we have the right man at the helm steering us through the troubled European waters of the Ukraine invasion. We need songs and bands like this singing songs of life and politics. As the great Edwyn Collins once sang, “too many protest singers not enough protest songs.” So thank the lord for the likes of the excellent Crows, showing that there is life in the old guitar yet.

Albums..

The Monochrome Set ‘Allhallowtide’
(Tapeate Records) 11th March 2022

Allhallowtide kicks off with the title track, which is a rather fetching 60s beat band croon of a track, part Scott Walker part The Left Banke. And a fine way to kick off this the latest album from the guitar band veterans. And what a fine and enjoyable album it is as well; a true black polo neck jumper of an album; the kind of album that would soundtrack Napoleon Solo and April Dancer nights of near passion; a pure beatastic swirl of sophistication, all whammy bar red Fender guitars and whirling organs.

Shelterheart ‘Shelterheart’
(Perpetual Doom) 8th April 2022

This album is nothing more or nothing less than a well written well-crafted album of songs; songs that dip their toes in pop, folk and Americana with some rather fine embellishments, with ‘Empty Pockets’ reminding me of both ELO and Wilco. It will no doubt be the radio hit of the bunch. I feel shelterheart could well be one of those albums the more you listen to it more the hooks and melodies will take hold and slowly become part of your everyday life and soundtrack any part of your day. This is an album that could quite as easily be listened to over breakfast as to before winding down for the day, its own sweetness and melancholy etching its way onto your heart.

Chlorinefields ‘Reclaim Your Brain’
(Radical Documents)

Chlorinefields make rather a beautiful easy laid-back lazy wash of a sound: the sound of a hug maybe. Gently strummed guitars and floating vocals casts you adrift in a sea of indie tranquillity; a hypnotic journey into the mind’s eye, slightly psychedelic slightly muffled FM radio hidden under the pillows of your bed, the quilt holding the tales of all those names you so long to utter in the throes of passion. The soundtrack to the unmade film playing in your head; an explosion of silent thoughts and lackadaisical wishes, this is the sound of a young person’s dream and a rather beautiful and pleasing dream at that.

Plastic Candles ‘Dust’
(Paisley Shirt Records)

There is something utterly bewitching about this release. It has a lo-fi warmth that one can lose themselves in. It’s how I imagine the My Bloody Valentine bedroom demos might have sounded, except I probably prefer Plastic Candles subtle beautiful madness to the out and out bombast of MBV.

The Plastic Candles have mastered the art of a frayed melody: as so many tracks on this album demonstrates all too well. The final track on the album ‘Pacific Blue’ is well worth the price of the cassette on its own, the sound of a chocolate heart melting on the lips of the one you so long to kiss. One of the most beautiful tracks I have heard this year. Another fine release from the quite essential Paisley Shirt Records.

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