joeldurston

Record Doctor II – The Punk and The Hipster

In Culture on April 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

If you don’t know the deal with this, it’s basically a selection of housemates who all love music but have different tastes, so we pick stuff each other should be listening to and review it – and hopefully amuse and inform you good people in the meantime (you can take a little gander at the first one, here for an better explanation).

 

Gary’s choice: David Thomas Broughton – The Complete Guide to Insufficiency.

Gary’s choice next. A Complete Guide to Insufficiency it’s called. And already I want to hit someone. It’s by some arsehole called David Broughton. And he’s probably the person I will hit.

Never in my life have I heard such fucking drivel. Apart from anything in the chart nowadays but still, this is pig shit. Pig shit with a capital P. And a capital ‘ABSOLUTE WANK’.

Listening to this makes me think ‘what if?’ What if this was how everyone thought music should be? What if this guy came before the Beatles and so everyone started playing like this? I’d rather castrate myself with a blunt turtle than live in a world where everyone thought this stuff was good.

What grates me about this pile of wank is the fact that it’s ALL THE SAME. Literally, change the fucking record, Dave, you twat. No-one wants to hear a nine-minute ménage-a-trois of guitars, whingy vocals and churches all the time, you utter dick.

With Guillemots, I went into hearing the album dreading the worst and coming out of it relatively surprised. This, however, offered nothing surprising, other than the fact that no-one shot this guy during the recording.

Another thing that grates is that this liquid disc of shit was recorded in Leeds. LeedsWho the fuck records in Leeds?! No-one, that’s who, and in Broughton’s quest to sound cool, different, chilled out in a ‘save the trees bro’ kind of twatty hippy way, he’s ended up in Leeds wanking himself off with a guitar while talking about shitting on people. Why did anyone let this guy record anything?!?

As far as I’m concerned, this guy can be thrown down a bottomless pit with Lady Gaga, Chris Brown, Far East Movement, WilldotfuckingdotIshittingdotAm and the other lads from BEP (not Fergie – she’s fit), One Direction and Simon Cowell. And anyone else who is ruining music for me. To think that the Clash and this guy are both considered musicians makes me want to vomit up my own pelvis.

Fuck off Broughton, just fuck off now, you utter, utter, terrible, terrible dick. (Edd)

 

From Gary, another obscure artist I have never heard of before. First, an utterly bizarre techno/electronic/slap bass/free album and, now, an album of introspected folk recorded in a single take in a church in Leeds – A Complete Guide to Insufficiency by David James Broughton. Couldn’t really get any more different from The Clash on the ‘guitar music’ spectrum than this: The Clash play raucous ska/punk rock with a snarling singer to thousands of disaffected youths and Broughton is the most low-key, niche and obscure of singer-songwriters who presumably plays to Independent readers. At the very least, Record Doctor is succeeding in its principal aim of introducing each other to hitherto unheard music.

Broughton’s music is certainly not the type that will be troubling the Rihannas and Gagas of this world at the top of the charts any time soon. For this album contains 9 minute (purported) epics of solitary guitar and vocals, hazy scuzz reminiscent of war movies, and quite possibly the first time in musical history an artist’s love for a woman has been described with reference to capital punishment, peep shows and faecal discharge – the oddly catchy refrain of Execution: “I wouldn’t take her to an execution / I wouldn’t take her to a live sex show/ I wouldn’t piss or shit on her would I / because I love her so.”

Ambiguity starts the album off in typically subdued, mannered, melancholic mood, with ostensibly simple guitar playing and quiet reverb on the guitar. He has a voice that is at once rugged and choir-boy, and that really enunciates every word; a marmite voice. The real problem is, like much of the rest of the album, it eschews any real discernible melody in favour of, seemingly, coming off as a purist’s singer-songwriter choice. The lyrics are equally divisive; the epitome of the earnestness/pretension (delete as applicable) of the singer-songwriter: “…such selfishnesses trivialises any tenderness as the coffee commands the torture of my bowels, pronouncing every word with a rigid sensitivity.” They certainly don’t make for Cold Patrol-esque sing-alongs.

Ambiguity is proceeded by Execution, which, with the aforementioned lyrics, certainly offers none of the former quality in its blunt lyrics. Unmarked Grave is the one track that most resembles a ‘song’; a tender message, accompanied by winding guitar riff and even a hint of verse and chorus, from a fallen soldier to the lover waiting for his return who  he will never see again – ‘haunting’, if it takes your fancy.

Walking Over You is back to the abstruse, though – another sketch of song more than a fully formed one, with no discernible melody; just introspected, stripped-back guitar playing which many broadsheet readers will think is good by definition. Ever Rotating Sky hits upon one fairly listenable riff a minute in, layers over some lyrics and some chanting and, after going quiet for a minute, just plugs the same riff for nearly five, musically masturbatory minutes. If parents ever need a song to use as blackmail, to stifle the irksome hyperactivity of their kids in the back seat, this would be it. How’s that for a quote for the album cover, David?

Ever Rotating Sky best illustrates the biggest problem with this album. He is obviously a talented guy who strives for authenticity in a music industry dominated by the by-numbers instrumentation and cheap sentiment of lighters-up stadium ‘rock’, but he often aims for this too much. There’s certainly a heartfelt candour to his songs, but they are often just…well, dull. His bleak songwriting should also come with an overdose warning, for the constant droning can wear quickly. To varying extents, all five songs feel stretched out for twice as long as necessary; mere sketches of songs, as in Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk – a collection of Jeff Buckley’s demos, first workings and previous cast-offs that only saw the light of the day after his untimely passing. Especially on all-time classic, Grace, Buckley managed to marry incredible musicianship and lyrical depth to a pop sensibility (Shrek, anyone?) without losing its credibility, as have many similar artists such as Jose Gonzalez and, lately, Ben Howard.

In failing on this count, to use a clichéd music hack trick, David James Broughton has indeed given a complete guide to insufficiency. (Joel)

 

Edd’s choice: The Clash – London Calling.

So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Edd has given me another Clash album to review. This time, their third and probably most famous, London Calling, named after their infamous lament of police brutality and threat of nuclear disaster (“London is drowning, and I live by the river”), which was named number 15 in its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (the album itself was voted number eight). It’s certainly a stirring opener; a stomping anthem to youthful disullionment.

The next song, Brand New Cadillac, returns the Londoners to familiar territory, treading as it does a similar furrow to their first two fairly down-the-line rock/punk albums. But after this, they open up and give many of the songs space to breathe, so often absent on previous albums. Jimmy Jazz has the relaxed feel of a song played to ease commuters into the daily grind duo of a poor, bedraggled guitarist and brass musician busking for money in the tube.

This is, though, one of the quieter moments on an album characterized by chirpy ska-rock which belies the anger in much of the songs. For example, Hateful is introduced by an upbeat harmonica and proceeds in a rambunctious kind of skiffle, even though it hides lyrics on lost friendship, nowhere-ness and memory loss. Spanish Bombs even hints at some real funk swing to their sound, evidenced later by dancefloor classic (ironically, given it is about war), Rock the Casbah.

Most songs, particularly Rudie Can’t Fail, Guns of Brixton and The Right Profile, take the Jamaican ‘Rocksteady’ sound and give it a punky 70’s London overhaul. The results are usually positive. Though some songs, especially towards the end of the album, such as I’m Not Down and Four Horsemen, have a tendency to wash over or blend into one when listened to as a whole. The vocals can also pall after a while. While the ragged, snarled, sometimes shouted vocals are clearly intentional, and in fitting with the band’s aesthetic, after a while they can grate. Listening to last two minutes of Revolution Rock was personally not too dissimilar an aural experience to that of pretending to ignore the bloke on the tube with a can of Special Brew in his hand on his tube at 5pm on a Monday, loudly proclaiming to all those who he thinks care his supposed misfortune in not being able to find a job or a woman. All in all, not unlike the downtrodden feel of Jimmy Jazz, but this time not in a good way.

Or maybe that is just my Mark Corrigan side coming out. As mentioned in the first Record Doctor when Edd plied us with The Clash’s self-titled debut album, one will always lose at least something in listening to an album out of the context culture it commented on and from which it spawned. With that in mind, though, it does frequently feel a little messy and uncohesive an album. At 19 tracks, it’s certainly a generous offering (and in today’s digital age where people can easily skip tracks, that’s practically more important). But one feels that it could be improved with some quality control, much like the Chili’s Stadium Arcadium which had a good dozen or more strong, if stupid, rock songs, but the quality of which was diluted by a fair few stinkers.

Still, it’s a good record, moving the band on significantly more than its predecessors. (Joel)

 

Joel’s choice: The Guillemots – Through The Windowpane.

This time Durst gave me an album called Through the Windowpane by Guillemots. Now, don’t be alarmed, but despite Guillemots being one of those bands that I will forever hate and wish a plague of cockney hamsters upon, I actually liked this album. Well, some of it anyway.

I approached it tentatively, much like the opening sustained strings on curtain raiser Little Bear. Immediately I got the impression that this was one of those albums I’d put on when I wanted to fall asleep. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the smooth sounds of the opener made me feel like slipping into a nice comfortable dream away from the harshness, loneliness and stabbiness of London.

Despite Fyfe Dangerfield’s voice being one of those I’d usually hate, singing fucking awful lyrics with a kind of whiny howl, it fits perfectly over many of the songs on here, Sau Paulo being one of the prime examples. Despite the fact that song is 12 minutes long. You could kill someone in that amount of time.

The beat picks up in Made-up Lovesong #43 and it sounds very…well, very normal. It doesn’t stand out – there are no redeeming features that make me think “oh wow, I’ll stop wanking into a Clash CD sleeve and listen to this one again”. In all honesty it sounds like a Coldplay song at some points, and Fyfe doesn’t help when he starts howling/screaming at around the two minute mark.

One track that does stand out is We’re Here. The tempo’s good, the guitar echoes are good…in fact there’s not really anything I dislike about this track, other than Dangerfield’s whiny voice. Someone ram a few cigars down his throat and beef his vocals up a bit, then I’ll be able to listen to them without wincing like a crocodile named Tony Davies is nibbling my ear lobe in a sensual manner…

In fact We’re Here is a song that sums up the album well – there are quick and slow bits, with some brilliant orchestral arrangements and tidy guitar work…that’s a good word to describe the album in one word actually – tidy. Not good or bad or messy or thrashy or vomity or grumpy or bashful or any of the seven dwarves, but tidy. Clean cut. If it were a man he would have a short smart haircut, a jumper, smart trousers and sensible shoes. However, how many people would want to look like that? Dicks who would rather read big books than throw milk out of windows, that’s who. The bastards.

And that’s my problem with this album. Not the dicks who don’t like the occasional milk toss. The album’s purpose. The only good purpose it serves is to be a good soundtrack to sleep. And that’s no disrespect to Guillemots, they are very talented and Dangermouse is an excellent arranger and musician, but how many people would put this album on at a party, or on their work-out playlist, or as background music to sex or other recreational activities? Or at work, to get themselves motivated? Or on a long car journey? Not many I’d think…unless you wanted to fall asleep during any of those things. And if you want to fall asleep during sex then you’re mentally fucked. Seriously. Go see a doctor. Or a psychiatrist. Or a scientist. Yes, a scientist. One with funny hair like Einstein, because that means they’re a proper scientist. Not one of these phonies with sensible hair and glasses.

One final thing. If you do fall asleep listening to this album, why not wake yourself up with a Clash record? Just saying. Any of them will do, they’re all brilliant. And probably better than anything you’ve ever listened to. Now fuck off and listen to them. Otherwise I will be coming round yours with Tony Davies, and he’s in a sexually vivacious mood… (Edd)

Edd Paul, Gary Napier, Joel Durston

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