Lurking in the grim and grimy underbelly of Carlisle is a fascinating beat combo going by the name Giant Loop of Sound. It's hard to describe their particular brand, but suffice to say, the name probably sums them up quite well.
This three track demo from the underground sounds as though it was conceived somewhere between Whitehaven and Hollywood. It has an earthy familiarity, yet a convincing west coast feel. Think of Paul Weller singing Smiths songs whilst being backed by The Thrills and managed by Brian Wilson and you're halfway there. Throw in the 'Randall and Hopkirk Orchestra' (a couple of old timers culled from the local brass band) and you've hit the nail on the head. This might all sound like a recipe for cacophony, but wait, it really works...
Kicking off with the upbeat brass section and Hammond organ driven 'Something's Bothering Me' they slowly get you up and on the floor - even in the kitchen as I listened I found myself unable to resist the infectious beats, which builds gradually to a crescendo of machine gun brass, hitting you hard with every blast of the horn. You can't fail to move to this, it doesn't do it justice to say that it'd have your granny dancing at a wedding, but it would. Then again it'd have the dead cutting some rug for sure. Lyrical nods to both Billy Fury and John Denver don't really impact on the piece; the music itself is too dramatic to allow the lyrics much of a stage. That's its beauty.
'In Spite' is a piano driven quasi-ballad that could have found its way onto any of those C86 compilations. It retains obvious Smiths influences in the song-writing department and delivery is tight, proficient, and considered. Either by excellent editing or good fortune the song is over in just under three minutes - (the optimum time for radio play-listing), so rather than leaving you easy with the end, it begs to be replayed over and over.
Finally, 'Costume and Crime' floats enigmatically through the ether. A piano standard with impassioned vocals and atmospheric soundtrack, the set closer is a perfect song to bring down the curtain with. A theatrical tale of disillusionment and disappointment, acknowledging the beauty and benefits of hiding behind a character, but ultimately not really getting anywhere in the long run.
In all a tidy set, and by all accounts quite a thrilling live spectacle - especially with the big band in attendance. One to look out for.
Some place somewhere it always feels like Sunday morning. Kids are playing around in bands on the underground not caring less if it turns into the mainstream anytime soon. All the while, old badges are worn across shirt pockets and hugs, not sneers, are given out by people much older than you. Then a rush, a surge, an over-pouring head-full of ideas and inspirations comes over you. So songs are suddenly made, noises pulled from drum machines, bad notes wrenched out of guitars and, for every wrong reason, it just sounds right, no, perfect! It sounds perfect.
Sweden seems like Sunday morning to me. What is it in the records I've heard that make me think that first paragraph really does happen somewhere? If it doesn't don't tell me, I don't want to know.
What I do know is that the first side of 'Old People are People Too' by Hormones In Abundance has started a mini disco in my bedroom. Mini because it's just me, a record and a bed to bounce on, oh, and side A is only about four minutes long. Which is long enough for scatterbox drum machines, the sweetest, cutest, lyrics (see 'Lina's 20th Birthday') and some tear tinged sad ones too (see most of the others). And I know that 'Bad songs, bad people' has a cutting 'wish I'd thought of that' lyric and a tune to make you dance yourself stupid. And the fact that every four-minute disco should end with chiming guitars and in-and-out of love girl/boy vocals like on 'Fun In Town'. That's what I know.
The second side has chief Hormone Patrik Lindgren whistling and frantically strumming his acoustic to ease my dancing motion sickness. His soothing, slightly nasal vocals remind
me of a fuzzy Gorky's sometimes, especially on 'The Leftout, Breakup, Breakdown'. Here his voice trembles for a heartbreaking 30 seconds or so until he sings;
"must say I prefer to let you go/ erase you out of my consciousness"
Right there his quivering voice finds a tune, shivers shoot straight to the top of the spine and eyes are shut tightly until it's over.
Over too quick, but it's my favourite part of the record.
It sounds perfect.