In Real Life
USA FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR-102 LP (2013)
Bringing to bear a deft, understated lyricism that immediately recalls Pierre Menard’s rewriting of ‘Don Quixote’ in its inspired repetitions of its hitherto inimitable phrasings amid landscapes foreign, Home Body’s Hayley Morgan uses mantra to masterfully seduce the listener with polysemous couplets such as “I hustle bustle and I hustle bustle” proving particularly enticing. Careful listeners will observe the sly injection of Home Body’s initials in this novel recasting of two collocated, rhyming nouns into an energetic new verb. Elsewhere, she outdoes the Bard himself, with indelible epithets such as “I can’t live without you. I can’t sleep without you” and “Toodle-loo, I’m sorry but this has gone too far”. It’s as though Bjork, Kate Bush and Roisin Murphy were at once reborn as the same Tesco checkout girl with a penchant for quicksilver haiku, but delivered in a withering monotone that actively interrogates the very virtue of melodicism. Brilliant!
The duo pose in white overalls on the inlay sheet, standing robotically aloof of a riot of coloured fur that represents the contrivance and gaudiness of so much ‘industry sound’. The commentary is subtle, quite sublime, and probably all-too-easily overlooked. The music is a similarly sly bag of synthesized jingles, jangles, whoops born of Eric Hnatow‘s Korg collection; and on the ‘darker, weirder songs, like “Hunt It”’ – there’s a touch of hair-metal rock-out. It all shifts effortlessly underfoot, like rug pulled from underfoot the unwary intruder in this private world of playful linguistic and musical frippery. Essentially, it’s a first class send-up of the kind of bedwetting indie pop that gets Pitchfork readers frothy on a daily basis. In the group’s own words: “outside of time or style, these pieces hew to Home Body’s own standards of canonical pop re-imagination”. Amen.
Can I Go Home Now?
FINLAND FONAL RECORDS FR-91 CD (2013)
What a shame. It turns out I’ve just missed an Ignatz show, as he played a few UK dates in January. Bother. I rather wish I’d heard this a little earlier. It’s a fairly simple set of songs with a country/blues fanboy thing happening; not my usual cup of tea, but it should be a tidy enough offering by anyone’s estimation. Songs bounce along at a calm canter, notes flicked cleanly from flinty fingers, lyrics – apparently pertaining to the human condition – more or less indecipherable mumbling, and a rather contrived lo-fi sound reduction that sounds a little too clean to me to be attributable to tape corrosion. Though seemingly improvised in parts, it sounds to me like there’s a bit of overdubbing – either that or he DOES have lightning fingers; it’s perfectly plausible. Make no mistake: Ignatz offers no new twists or innovations in his designated style, nor any kind of cosmetic wizardry. However, his honest take on country blues is as devoted and unpretentious as the dog that adorns the cover. It’s a warm and inviting sound: that of a serendipitous evening in a nice venue on a dark January evening. At least, I imagine so.
UK EXOTIC PYLON EP21 CD (2013)
Dear Lord! What is this bent-circuit apocalypse you have seen fit to visit upon me? Hoofus is the nominated harbinger of this specific bout of frenzied audio paintballing: unleashing on environment and audience the rampaging bastard child of a bank of senile machines and sporting more colours than one finds in the visible spectrum. Supposedly inspired by the ‘restless feral yearning’ of ramshackle life in the rural wilds, one quickly discerns that this shag-haired ruffian’s governing mandate is a total aversion to structure – as evidenced by his rapid dismissal of the slightest hint of a drum beat – and the coercing of every whim to its logical limit. In live performances, he twiddles knobs with one hand, bangs a drumstick with the other and is presumably rather adept at clearing rooms with the resulting cacophony. Similar results might be expected here. Sounds range from skin-grazing blasts of guitar to more sentimental dulcimer-type dallying as favoured on occasion by Kid606, whose Tigerbeat6 label would have granted warm berth to this electronic pen pal of psychosis. Truth be told, the very same ‘enfant terrible’ of the noughties offers the best all-round audio comparison I can think of. Anyway, there’s an interesting piece that sounds like a blindfolded man stumbling around precariously inside a pinball machine, but I can’t seem to find it now. Oh well.