Playlist/Video Premiere
Words: Dominic Valvona




Junkboy ‘Belo Horizonte’
Taken from the reissued/remasterd Sovereign Sky LP, released via Fretsore Records, 25th September 2020


Junkboy ‘Tropicalia Special’ Playlist
Available via Spotify


In the run-up to the release of Junkboy’s acclaimed 2014 cult album Sovereign Sky (released later this month), the Hanscomb brothers in partnership with Ian Sephton of Fretsore Records (who signed the boys back in 2019) have already shared the hazy-soulful Love-esque lapping tidal reflection single-video ‘Salt Water’ with the Monolith Cocktail’s followers, and now, furnish us with a second single of equally lush quality, the sauntering Brazilian psych lilt ‘Belo Horizonte’.

A culmination of Mik and Rich Hanscomb‘s experiments with a number of different styles, Sovereign Sky adopted a relaxed attitude to the pastoral, to cooing frat-folk, surf music, Britpop, the hip sound of Tokyo’s Shibuya Kei district and surprisingly, the languid sweltering rays of late 60s and early 70s Brazilian psych: otherwise known as “Tropicalia”. That album gave fair voice and a wistfully charmed backing of tenderly picked acoustic guitars, stirring strings and hushed, almost whispered, vocals to both the pains and loves of maturity. The brothers mellowed tones and introspection offered a mature observation on the world around them: especially, at the time, their relocated new home of Brighton. It’s a place in which Marc Eric meets Cornelius, and epic45 make friends with Harpers Bizarre; a place where Hawthorne, California and the beach samba saunter of Brasilia is transcribed to the English downs and seaside.






Not just to tie in with that forthcoming reissue release but also, as Mik Hanscomb offers, a reminder that “this is a music of resistance, and well, perhaps that spirit is needed now more than ever”, the brothers have also compiled a homage style playlist to their Tropicalia influences for us on Spotify.

It maybe the end of the summer, but the boys has provided the perfect comedown and ease into autumn. Enjoy.




The remasterd reissue of the previously limited Sovereign Sky is being released on the 25th September 2020 through Fretsore Records. You can read our original review in the link below, and also find previous Junkboy posts and premieres.



Junkboy ‘Salt Water’ Premiere (here)

‘Sovereign Sky’ Review (here)

 ‘Trains, Trees, Topophila’ Albums Of 2019 (here)

‘Waiting Room’ Premiere (here)





Premiere/Dominic Valvona




Junkboy ‘Salt Water’


(Fretsore Records) Download only single, released 14th August 2020. Taken from the upcoming digitally issued/reissued Sovereign Sky album, released on the 25th September 2020

Attracting a sort of cult status over the years since it’s initial release back in 2014, the Estuary soft psychedelic and pastoral beachcomber Hanscomb brothers’ unassuming Sovereign Sky album, it seems, was limited to only a select few despite its critical acclaim: especially by the Monolith Cocktail. A culmination of Mik and Rich Hanscomb‘s experiments with a number of styles, Sovereign Sky adopted a relaxed attitude to the pastoral, cooing frat-folk, surf music, psychedelia, Britpop and the hip sound of Tokyo’s Shibuya Kei district. That album gave fair voice and a wistfully charmed backing of tenderly picked acoustic guitars, stirring strings and hushed, almost whispered, vocals to both the pains and loves of maturity, the brothers mellowed tones and introspection offered a mature observation on the world around them: especially, at the time, their new found home of Brighton. It’s a place in which Marc Eric meets Cornelius, and epic45 make friends with Harpers Bizarre; a place where Hawthorne, California is transcribed to the English downs and seaside.

One such convert to that most peaceable of songbooks is Fretsore Records’ Ian Sephton, who signed the brothers back in 2019, releasing their South Coast topography imbued Trains Trees Topophilia album that same year. He suggested re-releasing the album on all digital platforms and on digipack CD; augmented with liner notes written by Parisian record collector, vinyl archivist and fellow believer, Quentin Orlean. The boys rightly jumped at that suggestion, as Mik explains: ‘We used this as an opportunity to go back to the tapes and improve the sound for digital release utilizing our home studio’s new outboard gear and tech acquired in the interim period. And the benefit of hindsight!’





Sovereign Sky channels the kind of music Mik and Rich have listened to since their youth. A Thames Estuary take on the lo-fidelity, budget -baroque of the first Cardinal LP and the vintage mellifluousness of The Lilys. There’s also a healthy dose of British Romanticism – an imaginary Albion in their heads somewhere between the socialist utopia of William Morris and Bob Stanley’s Gather In The Mushrooms compilations- while their hearts lie sun-kissed and blissed in Southern California like a pair of burnt out troubadours in deck shoes sourced with meticulous discernment from the Shibuya Kei district of Tokyo.

‘And yes’ confirms Rich, ‘we were enamoured with so many (often) home studio cooked and lost West Coast psych records – A Gift from Euphoria by Euphoria, Save for a Rainy Day by Jan & Dean, Another Day, Another Lifetime by The David, Initiation of a Mystic by Bob Ray, The Smoke’s self-titled album, Marc Eric’s A Midsummer’s Day Dream, and anything by Merrell Fankhauser….’

Presented here in an enhanced format that manages to transcend even the original vinyl’s beauty, Sovereign Sky is a Nugget that deserves to be a little less lost and a lot more loved.

 

Taken from that revitalised album we have the video accompanied teaser, reminder, and downloadable single, the relaxed soulful Love-esque rhythm guitar played lapping tidal reflection ‘Salt Water’. A concise, post-sike ode to the soul replenishing nature of sea side town existence, the brothers made field recordings at Hove Lagoon, East Sussex and wove them into a song built around a circular riff Rich devised after he woke up from a dream in which a version of ‘Yacht Dance’ by XTC produced by American Beauty era Jerry Garcia was on the radio twenty-four-seven. Sweet dream, man!

For the video, the boys sought to juxtapose the gaudy, grim reality of Brighton beach with the soothing calm waves of neighbouring Hove by means of a gently psychedelic, deep chilled Zen trip undertaken by an origami boat: Music and visuals in perfect harmony. Lap it up while you can.





Related posts from the Archives:

Junkboy ‘Sovereign Sky’ Review

Albums of 2019: Junkboy ‘Trains, Trees, Topophilia’

Premiere ‘Waiting Room’

‘Fulfil b/w Streets Of Dobuita’ Review


Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

 

PREMIERE
Words: Dominic Valvona





Junkboy  ‘Waiting Room’
(Fretsore Records)  5th July 2019


As Rich Hanscomb, one half of this sibling duo of refined placeable folksy-psych and Beach Boys imbued dreamy 1960s pop, puts it Junkboy are “more a way of life as opposed to a career.” And yet life has a habit of derailing, if at best, delaying things. Highly anticipated, the Hanscomb brothers’ upcoming, and sixth, album Trains Trees Topophilia (released 2nd August) is their first since the well-received (especially by us) 2014 dreamy Sovereign Sky.

Thankfully then, once more beachcombing the East Sussex coastline and South Downs versant, Rich and his brother Mik are back making music together after an unofficial pause. And what a halcyon if gentle return to the fold it is too.

Inspired by the brothers move, years ago, from the Essex coastal town of Southend-On-Sea to the Brighton And Hove area in East Sussex, and the famous post WWI abstract pastoral artists that captured that idyllic topography (messrs Paul Nash, John Piper and Graham Sutherland), the new peaceable album is made up of empirical instrumental evocations imbued partly by a more idealized vision of gracious, contemplative scenery-dreaming rail travel: Not the less frustrating cancelled and late crammed Southern Rail commuter journey version many of us have made in torment, including me; where the thought of stealing away a minute to meditate and ruminate is spoiled when you’re forced to balance a laptop or notebook whilst you stand for your entire journey in heaving train carriages.

This idyllic vision could even be said to have a Zen like quality, as interrupted in the beautifully thematic greenery palette album artwork by Yumi Okuda.






Further artistic inspiration comes in the form of the duo’s photographer and pal Christopher Harrup’s decade-old self-published photo album Essex Topography, the landscape psychogeography of which is a personal one for the brothers as they transduce memory and feeling into both a psychedelic love letter and more mindful soft bulletin.

The boys are accompanied on this woozy evocative journey by Will Calderbank (Mumford & Sons) on cello, Becka Wright (Buffo’s Wake) on violin, Owen Gilham (Jeannie Barry) on banjo plucking duties, “frailing” e-bow and dappled Fender Rhodes and Dave Woodhead (Billy Bragg) on flugelhorn, whilst the prolific polymath Oliver Cherer (no stranger to this blog) has contributed the Paul Nash inspired ‘A Chance Encounter’. Adding to that rich woozy sound of psychedelic folk, baroque chamber and surf pop is a penchant for 90s Chicago post-rock and the green-and-pleasant poetic jazz of the late British pianist/composer Michael Garrick.






Taken from that album and premiered today on the Monolith Cocktail, the precursor ‘Waiting Room’ single is a swimmingly melodious, fanned vibrato pinged psychedelic delight that brings a piece of California’s Hawthorne and Laurel Canyon to the splendor of the commuter satellite towns of the British South Coast. Bathed in a certain glow both lilting yet tinged with rumination, the 12 and 6-string symmetry and rolling drums of this piece of Pet Sounds driftwood proves a bucolic introduction to what sounds like a promising album suite. Without further ado…. go and enjoy this thoughtfully etched part of the local South Coast topography.





Credits:

All the photography in this post was taken by Junkboy photographer Christopher Harrup.
Album artwork by Yumi Okuda.

Further Reading:

Sovereign Sky Review

Junkboy Special Playlist 


%d bloggers like this: