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As the frontman of Perth-based psychedelic oddballs Pond, Nicholas Allbrook is a slick but edgy performer; with quirky melodies and rough vocals, he presents himself as a grittier sort of glam rocker. However, on his solo work, Allbrook is a very different character. Unrestrained, perhaps, by the poppier sensibilities of bandmate Jay Watson (a.k.a GUM) and producer Kevin Parker (a.k.a Tame Impala) Allbrook has carved a more experimental image. Whilst his darker ideas have started to seep into Pond’s music, especially on their latest record The Weather, Allbrook still saves the least conventional stuff for himself.
There’s a beautifully mournful moment about half way into the first track on Scott 3, It’s Raining Today, which sums up the whole of Scott Walker’s career. The strings which envelop the song, subtly change down a chord or two and suddenly Walker’s words have added gravity:
“We go like lovers / To replace the empty space /
Repeat our dreams to someone new.”
The first line is hopelessly romantic: a vision of something complete, two people in love going through life together. The next lines however, send shivers down your spine. This is love that is trying to fill something that’s lost, a repeated vignette that has not yet succeeded. Someone who’s been hurt before but goes into every relationship with the same gusto, sure that this time will be the one. This flip from happy to sad in the space of a few words sums up the whole song, the whole album and Walker’s whole career.
We’ve almost recovered from running our opening Club Rockhaq workshops at Oadby Library & The BRITE Centre last weekend. Phew! A last minute flurry of signups for Oadby made for a long and jam-packed day for us, but we absolutely loved it! A massive thank you to everyone who came along and worked so hard in your opening session. It’s given us a lot to think about when we plan the rest of our monthly Club Rockhaq workshops. I’d also like to say thanks to Paul who said hi to me when I was setting up at Oadby Library. You brought back many nostalgic memories about working at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall in the early noughties. An unexpected but apt blast from the past 😀
Animal Collective are not for the faint of heart. This is especially true regarding the experimental pop groups’ two most recent albums, in which they heavily indulged in some of their most left-field whims. 2016’s Painting With took their multi-layered vocal style to disorientingly elaborate heights, whilst 2018’s Tangerine Reef mellowed in slow and arguably somewhat stiff ambience. Both of these records were received with predictable ambivalence, despite personally holding some fondness for elements of them. However, there’s no doubting that Animal Collective are at their best when they restrain themselves. Or at least, when they’re able to focus their experimental tendencies into crafting great pieces of music. Ten years ago this month, Animal Collective released an album that perfected that approach. An album that followed in the footsteps of other experimental pop legends like the Beatles and (especially) the Beach Boys to produce something as beautiful as it is innovative. That album was Merriweather Post Pavilion.
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