Reviews - week 14

 

Tiara Cover

Beaumont

Tiara - Cd Lp

(Siesta Records)

Tiara is the second album by Beaumont the band containing Paul Stewart and Keith Girdler of Blueboy and Arabesque fame.

The album, a laid back deeply seductive affair, draws images in my mind of late nights in busy cities. Bright orange lights hitting the lazy eyes of those people walking haphazardly home. It begins with the deep throaty sound of En pleurs. The words “apricot starlight in her eyes” drip sweetly but sensuously from the lips of Cath Close. As the album progresses you feel as though you are watching a film that you are not quite sure you understand but which captivates you nonetheless.

Sounds falling like stars rain down upon your ears as you listen to electronic pop that is Club class whereas Lady bird displays passion, a Latin flair, and evocative low groans. Glance across a room also seems to come from a sunnier climate. It exhibits a warmth slightly out of keeping with moody night time character that surrounds it. At times the CD harks back to the 70s when things were so much more stylish, this is nowhere more evident than in nowhere near. Listening to Friends in flares you almost feel your ankle twist in your shiny shoes as you elegantly sipping champagne through a straw. This song is revisted in the hidden track. This time though it is much more upbeat, less blurred, perhaps not quite a chic but certainly more danceable.

And whilst the heart of the album seems a worldly wise and sophisticated it is scattered with simple but beautiful instrumentals such as Meantime or Marian. Guitar and keyboards dance together. Cello and violin sweep through this somewhat subdude party.

The strange whimsical nature lends a touch of naivety to soften the edges of an otherwise refined and cosmopolitan album.

Rachel Queen

 

 

Pop! COver

Handsome Train

Pop - 7"

(Heavenly Pop Hits)

"Handsome Train", I read on Little Pad Mail Order "sound quite like the Lucksmiths."
"Hey," said my friend at the record shop, "this is just like Morrissey!"
"...and just like Belle and Sebastian..." says Tommy of Heavenly Pop Hits when introducing them.
"I don't know" said Nick. "They sound indiepop to me."
And yet when I first heard them, I only thought of Hefner.

So who are these Handsome Train people?

Well - they are John, Marten, Sara and Linnea, they come from Halmstad, Sweden, and to me, they sound quite like themselves.

That's not to say John's way of singing is not similar to Morrissey's, that the use of flute, piano and melodica to create a rich sound doesn't bring Tigermilk to mind, or that their untidy melodies aren't similar to the Lucksmiths' ones. It's just to say that they use (use -not mix) these elements in a unique, inspired, personal way. A way that talks about them more than it talks about anything else; a way that makes me want to meet them, because it makes me think they're great.

They first appeared on the Heavenly Pop Hits compilation Hit Music Only with a beautiful song called September. Pop is their first release and it's pretty long for a single -three songs on the first side, two on the second. Every song on it has its share of magical charm that will reveal itself to you if only you look closely. Pop (strangely enough) sounds like a hymn to pop to me; Everyone Says Hi I love because it features Linnea and John taking turns to sing; Riot Girls and In This Time sound like they're about being true to yourself. But I think it's I Want You To Know -a charming melody that sounds like a love song even though it says "I want you to know that I won't be around even if you change your mind"- that is the best one. It sums up all I love in Handsome Train.

Handsome Train make ingenious music: sweet, passionate, exciting, slightly strange - strange enough to make you wonder where it comes from - music to fall in love with. Believe me. They tell stories about the usual things in unusual ways and they sound like they really put themselves in what they do - but they do so in an unpretentious, effortless way. As if really putting yourself into what you do is the most natural thing in the world.

And maybe it is. As they sing - "In this time/ everyone's a liar/ they're so scared of being true/ but not you/ no, not you."

Dimitra Daisy

 

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