THE BEGINNING

The latest 7″s by GIRLS, Fiction, Cerebral Ballzy, Dirty Projectors and Porcelain Raft

girls-broken-dreams-club

Girls
Broken Dreams Club
(Fantasy Trashcan)

At six sizeable tracks long (the closing ‘Carolina’ even manages to pierce the seven-minute mark), ‘Broken Dreams Club’ occupies that middle ground between EP and mini album. Everything else about Girls’ latest release is far less indecisive.

From the opening doo-wop of ‘The Oh So Protective One’, it proudly wears its title on singer Christopher Owens’ curled lip, the San Franciscan semi-crooning heartbroken laments like a twenty-something Elvis Costello serenading the losers at a ‘50s Bop. It’s the kind of track that Adam Green would make if he toned down the silly. And, though surprisingly never completely glum, Girls don’t get any less dejected.

Song two is called ‘Heartbreaker’ (and yeah, they’re talking about a third party), title track ‘Broken Dreams Club’ is a ballad that could be as harrowing as the weepiest of Bright Eyes tracks if only it wasn’t delivered with what seems like a knowing, wry grin, and ‘Alright’ (a bit ‘Mrs Robinson’, a bit Weezer) once again confirms that Owens isn’t actually that alright at all.

What’s clever about all of this is that while ‘Broken Dreams Club’’s constant theme of rejection should eventually become too heavy and awkward for its running time, it really doesn’t. Because although the band mope they never wallow, and during ‘Carolina’ (about the State, not a girl) they almost sound optimistic.

—-

Fiction
Big Things
(Hitclub)

South London quartet Fiction pin a majority of their appeal on their drums, attesting, “they are the heart and soul of the band.” Second single ‘Big Things’ tells a far different story though, its lifeblood being a borderline twee keyboard riff that loops like that of The Cure’s much underrated ‘Six Different Ways’. It’s accompanied by some layered, hushed harmonies, a post-funk bassline and, after some time, those essential drums. But it’s the keyboard that you’ll wake up singing, and Fiction should embrace that – as well as the fact that they sound more like a wet-eared Mystery Jets than ever.

—-

Porcelain Raft
Tip of Your Tongue
(Acéphale)

Mauro Remiddi doesn’t say “tip”. He says “teeeep”, and that can be more than a little bit annoying. As a result, ‘Tip of Your Tongue’ can be a struggle to sit through, even if its heartbeat pulse does cunningly offer a simulated sense of paternal comfort. B-side ‘Despite Everything’ does a far better job at helping Remiddi live up to his emotive filmmaker reputation, pitching his detached vocals and bleak lyrics next to a sombre piano and little else. It’s music to make teenagers cry, until an odd radio-cutting-out effect interrupts the proceedings, making you think “oh sheeeet.”

—-

Cerebral Ballzy
Insufficient Fare
(Moshi Moshi)

If Cerebral Ballzy singer Honor approached you in the street and sang ‘Insufficient Fare’, you’d probably go, “Yeaaah mate…”, just like you do to all the other incoherent drunks that slur the day away and rarely complete full sentences. “Insufficient fare…” he whines on this, the band’s first proper single, before yapping like a pissed Zed from Police Academy and shouting ‘fuck’ every now and then, clear as day. But while Honor still sings through beery gills, the band, for once recorded properly, sound big, competent and sober even. Hardcore this stoopid rarely sounded so promising.

—-

Dirty Projectors
As I Went Out One Morning
(Domino)

There’s no guessing what Dirty Projectors’ next trick might be, but it’s safe to say that few expected David Longstreth’s band of weird angels to take a lesser-known Bob Dylan track and turn it into Kenny Rogers’ ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)’, introducing it to one-note backing vocals that still manage to sound complex and soulful, and drums like those of a street busker playing trashcans. Fewer still would expect such a track to sound better than Dylan’s original. Once again, Dirty Projectors prove to be predictably unpredictable and brilliantly brilliant.

—-

Originally published in issue 23 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. November 2010

« Previous Article
Next Article »