Saturday, December 09, 2017

Songs of the day

“Memphis, Lancashire”, by Jack Cooper.
”Cremated (Blown Away)”, by The Proper Ornaments.
Hands up if you like your pop jangly. So, that’s all of you. As I thought.

A bit of history. In the shape of a fairy tale. Which is appropriate, given that every time I hear something new by these guys I have to pinch myself to check if it is real.

Once upon a time there was Veronica Falls. (“Beachy Head” I have written about here.) They released two albums. They also released, I was recently surprised to discover, two sets of cover versions, tracing many parts of the rock’n’roll map, from The Rolling Stones to The Verlaines, and putting their own distinctive stamp on all of them.

While touring, James Hoare from Veronica Falls met Jack Cooper from Mazes. The reverb fairy waved her magic wand, and they formed Ultimate Painting, a band whose sonic palette conveys more than a passing nod in the direction of The Velvet Underground, but given the way these two gents have with a melody, every song of theirs has thus far been both a surprise and a delight.

And so we arrive at the tumultuous year of 2017. We could probably all have done with a new Ultimate Painting album, but it was not to be. Instead, Jack and James cleaved themselves apart so that between them they could give us the healing balm of not one but two albums — “Sandgrown”, a Jack Cooper solo album, and “Foxhole”, by another of James Hoare’s many bands, The Proper Ornaments.

Neither of these albums is likely to appear on anybody’s 2017 best-of lists, but I defy you not to feel better about pretty much everything after listening to them. Maybe they should be available by prescription.

Bonus beats: Veronica Falls’ take on The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Eighteen Is Over The Hill”.

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