Alasdair Roberts.


The succinct 7” review with Sean Bw Parker; our inimitable contributor blazes without prejudice or a care in the world through the latest flurry of singles currently jamming up our inbox at Monolith Cocktail HQ. Welsh mountainside psych from White Noise Sound, political knockabout chimed indie from The Monochrome Set and the latest rustic, beguiling triumph from Alasdair Roberts feature alongside new music from A Projection, Camouflage, Barringtone and The Elwins.


A Projection   ‘Young Days’   (Tapete Records)

Clattering in with a volley of Joy Division nervy drums and early Cure bass, we are in grimy late-seventies territory, with some Boy-era U2 ‘oh ohs’, or is that Interpol? Hard to tell anymore. Tense, evocative, earnest and appropriately artily-named, A Projection will see many an intense young man’s skittering shoulders hurtling across indie disco floors, while he misses his own ‘Young Days’.



Alasdair Roberts   ‘In Dispraise of Hunger’   (Drag City)

A real treat, this. Do you remember how you felt when you first heard that Gary Jules acoustic version of ‘Mad World’, or how about Crash Test Dummies’ ‘Mmm mmm mmm’? Warm and reflective, possibly. We are in intricate, perfectionist Celtic folk territory; Tunng, Jethro Tull, Pentangle, all that. BUT before you run screaming to the bathroom to shave, Alasdair Roberts applies a lovely, beguiling progression that will make the most cynical hipster gently smile – a careful, caring, beguiling song with its heart chords firmly in the right place.



Camouflage ‘Shine’ (bureau b)

Dancing like a robot from 1984 time. Camouflage’s admirably quixotic rouge and mascara is smeared across their presumably powdered, perfectly sculpted cheekbones. Though trenchantly mired in the sound of the mid-80s at some suburban club named Roxy, celebrating Human League, Visage or updating to Zachery Allen Starkey, Camouflage are presumably hoping for some charitable shoo-in to some latter day Pretty in Pink or Breakfast Club. Shine is catchy enough that it might happen – and like Hurts or possibly Everything Everything, their genuine love of the nasty era’s sound puts them in relaxed eyebrow, post-ironic territory.


Barringtone   ‘Feverhead’ (Omomatopoeia)

1977-era Genesis meet MGMT with a re-energised Flaming Lips, Feverhead is propulsive, compelling stuff. All insistent bass, driving drums (drums to drive to), and a filtered whine that makes you truly wonder what a ‘beaver head’ must be. There is however a certain sophistication to the arrangement and production that rewards repeated plays. Get lost inside your beaverhead. Go on, do it.


The Elwins   ‘You Have Me’

Ah, preppy Canadian anglophiles, loving art pop from a hopeful place in deepest Ontario – we need you! Sunny, quirky, positive tones – Weezer, Band of Horses, early Blink 182 – my only hope is that it doesn’t end up on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Their manager may possibly not agree with me. Good use of moustaches and shirts too, judging by the press shots.



White Noise Sound   ‘Heavy Echo’   (Rocket Girl Records) 16th March 2015

Tribally murky, with that certain mountainside Welsh psych sound certain bands have been succeeding in ever since Super Furry Animal’s ‘Fuzzy Logic’ nearly two short decades ago. SFA, Spiritualized, The Fawns, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Jesus and the Mary Chain are rolling in the deep here, all night-swimming beneath some of the best keening guitars of 2015 so far; Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp poking each other with plectrums halfway up Snowdon on a clear, starry, spring night.


The Monochrome Set   ‘Iceman’   (Tapete Records)   Taken from their upcoming album, Spaces Everywhere, 16th March 2015

The Coral, James Cook and The Zutons in a pillow fight, Iceman is acerbic, political and jolly all at the same time. ‘Excuse me, have you voted yet?’ Well not quite, but if all election songs are this engaging, that massive swathe of the British youth needed to vote in someone who hasn’t been in power before might be tantalising near. Impassioned-yet-cool vocal delivery, intriguingly visual lyrics, and an assuredly accomplished arrangement. Never mind Christmas or rubbish collection, vote Green. How much worse could it get?


Words: Sean Bw Parker



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