Friday 11 March 2011

Kowalskiy Belated Review #7

The Plimptons - '00s Nostalgia
Quite possibly the best cover art so far this year... or maybe towards the end of last year.  I lose all track of time when it comes to these Belated Reviews.  Anyway, onto the music.  Glasgow's D.I.Y. pop trailblazers The Plimptons are another band I'd heard of, but not actually heard until they sent me '00s Nostalgia, their third album.  I never know what "D.I.Y." means in this context.  In my experience, it usually means a lot of things being thrown haphazardly together, but somehow coming out serving its purpose.  Hang on... that's pretty much it!  The Plimptons have tried their hand at everything pop and punky from the accordion-led Celtic variety (Lonely Old Man) to some Costello/XTC-inspired quirky pop (Virgin On The Ridiculous) and even some ska (The Day My Baby Said She Hated Ska)... and a lot more in between.  'Haphazardly' is doing them a disservice though.  As ramshackle and shambolic as it sounds in places, I don't doubt that a lot of effort has gone in to perfect that very sound.  If I was to plump for a favourite, it'd have to be This Is The Story Of My Self-Pity (Baby).  Like Belle & Sebastian playing an old-fashioned variety club gig... and using the club organ.  It has a real retro feel and it sounds amazing!  It is just one of many highlights on this surprisingly diverse album, chock full of moments of lyrical genius in their own unique storytelling style. 

Where We Lay Our Heads - From The Roots, We Grow Limbs
I should really pay more attention in future.  For a while now, the name Where We Lay Our Heads have been bandied about, and for a while now, I've not taken much notice.  Wull 'Define Pop' Swales though, is a man I tend to listen to when it comes to new band recommendations.  Turns out, he's a bit biased with this one, what with being the frontman an' all!  Like I said, I should pay more attention.  Anyway, their From The Roots, We Grow Limbs EP is an assured debut.  Opening track Lined With Trees is a great piece of indie-folk with a wee nod or two to Frightened Rabbit shining through in places.  Next up, the standout Gies A Wave is a gorgeous mix of handclaps, tinkling keys and the enchanting vocals of The Second Hand Marching Band's Jennifer Sinclair complimenting Wull's own dulcet tones.  The laid-back Roses On The Beach finishes things off nicely with a wee bit of a Beirutty undertone.  Once again, it may just have those boys from Selkirk looking over their shoulders.  Nice one Wull!

New Town Triptych - Just How You Designed
The thing I really love about these posts is I get to take my time listening to the releases without feeling any pressure to rush out a review.  So you could say, the longer I take to post it, the more I've enjoyed the releases.  That's certainly been the case with this one.  Rounding off the KBR#7 trio is Glasgow-based 3-piece New Town Triptych, who are a relatively new name to me.  It hasn't taken them long though to find themselves very much on my radar, thanks to their debut, 3-track Just How You Designed.  Musically-speaking, they occupy the small piece of folkspace between Admiral Fallow and Randolph's Leap what with their warm, gorgeous, folky melodies and their instantly-likable, upbeat side.  The multi-layered title track embodies that straight from the off with its deep orchestral bass, stunning harmonies and intertwining flute and acoustic guitar arrangements combining to produce something quite breathtaking.  Track two, The Things That Keep Me Here is a non-stop, boy-girl, pop-folk delight which threatens to steal the show!   They cite The Decemberists as one of their influences, something which starts to come through on closing track Killing Time.  A great ending which cements their place as one of the most exciting, new Scottish bands around.  In their own words "our aim is to continue producing our own music with interesting lyrics, nice melodies and layered harmonies".  Fingers crossed they keep true to their word!

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