Back in the days when Comet Records existed in Cork, I got into The Go-Betweens (Comet later became Plugd, which has now moved around the corner from Washington Street to the Triskel Arts Centre building). In those days, Comet used to sell Beggars Banquet releases on cassette for a fiver - and in those Walkman days, cassettes were my medium of choice. And so I found The Go-Betweens: 1978-1990. I was vaguely aware of the band - I think I had heard Bachelor kisses on Dave Fanning's radio show a few times during the 80's. But I didn't own anything by the band. Of course, typical me, to become interested in the band after they'd broken up (in fact, both Grant McLennan and Robert Forster had released their first solo efforts by this time). I think it was the sleevenotes that sold me on it. Each song had a short note from either Grant or Robert. Like this one by Grant, for Bye bye pride -
Cairns is a lazy, small town full of boats and cane fields. It is also unbearably hot.…
The bass player with the renowned Norwegian band Sereena Maneesh strikes out into intriguing Tame Impala (grooves) meets Ariel Pink (bittersweet pop sensibility) territory.
The first thing you notice is the bass playing. It’s front and centre in the mix, a beautiful warm sound and full of circular figures which are insistent and groovy. It immediately brings to mind The Byrds from around 1965-67, in which the bass went far beyond simple root notes to bring an extra voice to the arrangements. Think ‘Eight Miles High’ or ‘So you wanna be a rock and roll star’. It’s a brilliant foil to Nikolaisen’s unusual and enigmatic vocal and you’d be inclined to be humming these basslines to yourself after one listen.
The next thing to say is that the songwriting has the ability to make different moods rub shoulders together without it sounding forced or for effect, but instead inherent to the song. It’s a joy, that.
So the wonderful opener ‘Hermitage’ follows an urgent psych pop beginnin…
Delicious mixture of the propulsion of Stereolab and the textures and crunch of My Bloody Valentine from this Dublin band’s debut album.
There are many things to love about the album – the sense of adventure, the absorption in ideas for their own sake (an improv spirit maybe), the embrace at the same time of pop melodies, the sheer breadth of sounds generated throughout the album – but I think my favourite is that great quality in any band or album, not trying too hard.
I can think of ten other bands who might have taken a rough draft of these songs and turned them into bombast, beating you over the head with the ideas and in the process murdering any beauty.
Percolator have that wonderful thing, restraint, so instead they stick with the ideas, the raw elements and see them through, not just as means to an end but as diamonds in themselves.
In this I would put them next to labelmates The Altered Hours. A band with vision and in it for the long haul. Plus with obvious musi…