Past weeks:

67. The Donnas, Harper Lee, Rilo Kiley, Havana Guns, Hundred Handed, The Chalets
66. The Aphrodisiacs, The Wedding Present, Bearsuit
65. Ballboy, Misty's Big Adventure
64. The Guild League, The Frenchmen, Coastal
63. Lambchop, Milky Wimpshake, Schwervon!, Clayhill

... and more in the archive

Alternatively you can search the back issues of the friends of the heroes:

(Tip: Use quotes around phrases or you'll find too much. Also, there is a file for every issue and they are long, so I suggest you use your browser to locate the words in them.)

 

Week 69

cover  

Harry Hunks

Revolutions from Pink to Pale

Marsu on Paras Records

 

Oh Helsinki, so much to answer for, indeed, the whole of Scandinavia so much to answer for. This large chunk of Europe is so often criminally ignored when the world of indie pop decides who the heroes are, that is surely a travesty of talent, a complete misrepresentation of what is actually going on out there in the fjords, birch woods and saunas of North Eastern Europe – that’s not too stereotypical is it?

Throughout a glittering five song set Harry Hunks manage to cast a spell that will hold you, entranced and enchanted, desperate with desire and wishing for more. In addition to their standard four piece line up – vocals, guitars, keyboards and rhythm this record also embraces luscious insertions of brass and strings which evoke visions of Belle and Sebastian, Joe Jackson, and Nick Drake. The song writing is strong, and the performance is neat, well structured and effortlessly presented.

‘The Guy Who Makes Horses Run and the Frogs Fly’, is musically, as the title may suggest, an indelibly lullaby-esque, dreamy, drifting, lilting tune but with a darker, much more sinister lyrical line. The chilling juxtaposition of which makes for a comforting but menacing ditty. ‘Snooze Alarm’ is a pseudo pop, almost rockabilly rhythm, in places it alludes to Billy Bragg, a gentle start, easing into a semi-euphoric chorus, it’s a delight.

‘Ugliest Surfer’ is typical indie pop fare, a tale of loss and rejection, whilst always maintaining that the sun will still come up in the morning, and that life will always get that little bit better somewhere along the line, “just pick up anyone who is nice…”. Musically it is Belle and Seb-ish, with a longing Casio keyboard break (what’s the Scandinavian for ‘Dixons’?). ‘Slow Air’ isn’t so much of a slow air, more of an acoustic driven slab of melancholia, which explodes after the middle eight into an almost Wedding Present-ish guitar and brass (come on, work with me here) outro. It really does work, it does.

Finally ‘Lets Not Go to Vienna’ closes the E.P. Sliding in with an exquisite xylophone break (now that’s something you don’t hear everyday). It, again is reminiscent of Billy Bragg – I’m thinking ‘Ontario, Quebec, and Me’, ‘Bread and Circuses’ and ‘Heart like a Wheel’. It’s simple, but convoluted, the structure is plain, but the emotive nature is twisting and turning. The cello break makes ‘Lets Go to Vienna’ simply to die for. It’s sweet, luscious beauty.

KLM Fly from London to Helsinki for £150, it’s worth a trip.

 

Johnny Mac

More by this author

 

 

cover  

Farrah

Me Too

Lo Jinx

 

I like to think that after all the music I have listened to over the years, I know what I like and although an album should not be judged on its first hearing, I still know whether it is quality or just more middle of the road mediocrity. Shows what I know! This Farrah CD did very little for me on its initial outing. Joe Jackson’s ‘Different for Girls’ stood out a country mile leaving the rest as pleasant good time tunes that faded as rapidly as the ending of each track. Do not be fooled, this is quality power pop that is well written by lead vocalist Jez Ashurst and is beautifully delivered by this talented 4 piece outfit.

My next mistake would be to pick out certain tracks as being better than the rest. To put it simply they are all good and although slight disappointment occurs as one finishes, the freshness and quality of the next immediately takes its place.  Time after time the music infectiously kicks in and astuteness of the lyrics then completely hook your full attention. Cleverly the first two tracks, ‘Tongue Tied’ and ‘Daytime TV’ are totally addictive. The album then settles into a series of very enjoyable well-written songs, which maintain the listener’s interest and enjoyment to the end. So perhaps mentioning that ‘This is My Life’,  ‘Wake Up’ and the final track ‘High and Low’ are all exceptionally good as well, is unnecessary. In fact the only track that in anyway seems out of place is Joe’s cover version. This band is good enough in its own right.

‘Me Too’ is Farrah’s second album. I totally missed the first one titled ‘Moustache’ but it if it is half as good as this one it is only a matter of time before it joins not just my collection but also my most currently played list.  

 

D Jo
 

 

 

 

 

 

About Page1 Page2 Page3 Page4 Page5 More reviews Contents Mail us!