So much unprecedented great new music has been released in the past few weeks and it’s been an absolute pleasure to listen to it. The musical output has been innovative, fresh and simply fantastic. But by who? Well, read on and Into Creative will tell you EXACTLY that …
Artist: The New Fools
The new album from Cambridge band The New Fools literally stopped me in my tracks. The band have been playing for a few years, their debut album landing in 2019 and a steady flow of releases since but it’s with Vanille that the band have taken their sound to a new level.
There are eight perfectly formed tracks here and from opener New Fools through to the closing And Campfire Song, the quality simply does not abate.
The album was recorded at Half Ton Studios in Milton, Cambridge and the production is polished enough to provide a solid sound experience but also retaining an edge that draws you in, play it loud! The five piece band were also augmented on the album with three other musicians who added trumpet, sax and e-bow amongst others and those little additions really help the songs shine, Better Days being a prime example, the brass really propelling the track.
Elsewhere, I Found You is a belter, an infectious, upbeat song with mod/punk hints. An absolute earworm. Of course, every band worth their salt should have a self titled track and New Fools ticks that box, vocally reminiscent of Bowie with that brass sound again put to good use.
Aside from the music, the lyrical content is spot on, particularly on Nobody’s Business But Mine and If Things Don’t Change where Tony Jenkins’s vocals bite and don’t leave any prisoners. On the latter, the music is relaxed, languid and Tony’s vocal delivered in a very matter of fact way which really adds to the message conveyed in the lyrics.
Samantha Sits leans to a more structured, layered song with a 60s era Merseybeat sound, what’s not to like? The closing And Campfire Song gives that upbeat feel again, a perfect closer to what is a truly magnificent album. The New Fools don’t hide their influences here (Merseybeat, 60s, Vic Godard, mod) but importantly they have their own sound and it all adds up to a truly great album (which also comes with a bonus CD too).
To order the album and keep up to date with the band, head over to The New Fools website here.
Artist: Paul Simpson
Album: Death Must Be Beautiful
Known for his work in The Teardrop Explodes, The Wild Swans and Care, Paul Simpson has just released a new solo album, Death Must Be Beautiful.
While this is a new release, the songs that make up the album were in fact written and recorded back in 2004 following the death of Simpson’s father. Eighteen years later, those songs are now finally ready to see the light of day. Of the album, Paul said ‘An entire album of stripped-bare funereal acoustica? What was I thinking? All the songs recorded during this 2004 Henry Priestman produced session at The Gossamer Dome, Anglesey were written while I was suffering from a depression brought about by the recent death of my father. We weren’t close – that was the problem. I’d always imagined some eleventh-hour deathbed ‘I love you’ reconciliation. Upon the album’s completion I decided not to burden the world with an official release but now, 18-years on from this unvarnished recording I have gained a little perspective and think it’s time to finally let these cathartic monsters out on vinyl for the first time’.
Listening to the the album, it is brutally raw at times and perhaps song titles such as I Don’t Think Jesus Loves Me, Disintegrating, Just Can’t Take Anymore and I Never Got Over It are clues to Simpson’s mindset at the time. It is though, a piece of beautifully crafted art and it deserves to be heard. These may be songs of heartache, despair, betrayal, regret and bitterness yet they’re delivered with dignity and a calmness that at times elevates the work to a spiritual plane.
Also appearing on the album are Ged Quinn (Teardrop Explodes, Wild Swans, Lotus Eaters) and Henry Priestman (Yachts, It’s Immaterial, The Christians) among others and they add a great deal to the recordings on offer here.
Lyrically, you will be immediately drawn in to the bleak gloom though coupled with subtle melodies that shine. One of the albums of the year without a doubt, it is released on green vinyl via AV8 Records Ltd.
Simpson is also busy with other projects, the recent t-shirt collaboration with weare1of100 – see website here, plus working on a new Wild Swans record and writing his autobiography in addition to the recent re-release of Revolutionary Spirit on Optic Nerve Records – see website here. To find out more, head over to the Paul Simpson website here.
Artist: Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band
Album: Dear Scott
Has there been a more hotly anticipated album released this year than Dear Scott? None that I’m aware of and after a few listens, it’s easy to see why this record just does not disappoint.
Michael Head of course needs no introduction. His work with The Pale Fountains, Shack, The Strands and now The Red Elastic Band has provided a canon of work that is rightly lauded for it’s consistency and musical gems.
A follow up to 2017’s Adios Senor Pussycat, the new album is jammed with the signature style we have come to love and expect from Head. Indeed, opener Kismet is already burning itself into the psyche as if it was a well-worn classic from years gone by.
Broken Beauty is quintessential Head and was written by the singer-songwriter with his daughter and for me, it’s the stand out track on the album. Dear Scott was recorded in Kirby with Bill Ryder-Jones (ex The Coral) on production duties and what a fine job he’s done here.
The album and it’s title is (loosely) based on F.Scott Fitzgerald writing a postcard to himself when down on his luck. I’m sure he’d appreciate the sentiment.
Brass occasionally punctuates the tracks on offer here, such as the wonderful American Kid and Gino And Rico while there are orchestral chimes on the likes of Grace And Eddie and Fluke, the latter having an almost other-worldly feel to it before breaking out into a mini acoustic guitar break and then back again. The penultimate track Pretty Child is a fresh, 60s influenced, upbeat cracker and contains a fantastic guitar hook, the band a bit more expansive, quite reminiscent of Waterpistol era Shack.
Hotly anticipated? Yes. Rightly so? Yes. Flawless, it’s that good.
Keep up to date with Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band and the Dear Scott album out now on Modern Sky Records via the website here. It’s also been announced that Michael Head will play at a gig in Strathaven on Friday 02 September – details via the FRETS CONCERTS site here.