Exiled from his Istanbul home of ten years, Sean Bw Parker, now back on his native shores of England – it’s a long story, and I’m sure he’ll regale us all with it sometime soon – breaks with convention, reviewing a triumvirate of releases in one bite-size rant.
Dr John ‘Ske-Dat-De-Kat…Spirit Of Satch’ (Proper Records) 1st September 2014
Growling old Gumbo eating Bayou swamp monkey Dr John pays homage to fat trumpeter Louis Armstrong, with smilingly jaunty, boogie-woogie results. Starting out as a barbershop doo-wop version of ‘What A Wonderful World’, it is rather appropriate for the time of year, in a very New Orleans kind of way, if not a middle-eastern one. An unrecognisable but utterly compelling ‘Mack The Knife’ follows, with fantastic Funkadelic-style horn riffs, and a possibly out-of-place aggrandising rap.
The percussive, acid-fried psyche-bluesman Dr John responsible for the fascinatingly frazzled ‘Gris Gris’ back in the proper hippy mists of time is quite absent, but in his place a mature, full-voiced singer, more Beaujolais than Bonzai.
Grass On The Sun ‘Grass On The Sun EP’ 5th June 2014
Just two tracks here – one gets the feeling that Italian ‘psych’ duo Grass Of The Sun might have let the greyhound out of the traps a tad early. Surly, mumbled, illegible vocals float alongside Suicide/Jesus and Mary Chain drone grooves, nary a chord change in sight. ‘The Corner’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’ are perfectly workable shoegaze rooftop dwellers, but without being full of acid or to be honest whatever your poison is, Grass On The Sun are for now very much a ‘watch this space’, night-time pair.
Koria Kitten Riot ‘Rich Men Poor Men Good Men’ (Yates Records) 6th October 2014
Twee Fins Koria Kitten Riot present, as their third album but first as a full album, something that their PR company describes as ‘at times you forget that you’re not listening to a soundtrack of a heart-warming indie film’. Well that’s true, and if you like Wes Anderson or that flick about a down on his luck Irish musician, you’ll probably like this. I presume the band name is an attempt to sound po-mo interesting, akin to Super Furry Animals, with similarly cringe-inducing results.
Good album title though, and the sound throughout is a very polished, very accomplished, excruciatingly polite and business-like mash-up of Mercury Rev, Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel and yes, Coldplay. The boys themselves look very nice and all that, and I’m sure they are, but possess what we could call an absence of need, edge or any other kind of existential pain. The main worry with this ‘genre’ is that offered a tie-in with The Big Bang Theory, Starbucks or any film with Colin Firth in it, they’d accept, no questions asked. It sometimes feels like that might even be the aim.
They deploy the occasional ‘fuck’ in order to sound pissed off, but it really comes off as aimless angst, Mumford & Sons style over-egging. Each track has some instrumental colour, immaculate strings here, perfectly balanced horns there, etc. It’s a very warm, comforting album, but just rather…beige trousered.