"...The catchy road-trip feel of lead-off single ‘California’ resembles a contemporary take on a 60s psychedelic throwback, also arguably the pick of the tunes here, a crisp Byrdsy jangle interspersed with a thrillingly ethereal urgent vocal..."
Brooding as well as expansive, illuminating yet with filled with shady nooks and crannies; this lucid debut offering from two-handed onDeadWaves certainly packs a slightly unhinged punch, and if you happen to be claustrophobic, the album’s vast and richly layered sonic wilderness will have you stampeding towards the nearest broom cupboard!
Mute Records stable mates, cult solo artist Polly Scattergood, together with Maps guitarist James Chapman have joined forces to great effect on this their first venture, presumably following a brief encounter at the Mute office water cooler. The languid opener ‘Blackbird’, inspired by a feathered friend acquired during the album’s recording, sets the panoramic tone for one’s listening pleasure. ‘Never Over’ pounds away whilst shimmering for England, as well as containing the almost tangible influence of Bad Seeds, both vocals deliciously intertwining around a lush Tarrantino-esque guitar riff.
The catchy road-trip feel of lead-off single ‘California’ resembles a contemporary take on a 60s psychedelic throwback, also arguably the pick of the tunes here, a crisp Byrdsy jangle interspersed with a thrillingly ethereal urgent vocal. Next up on the emotional rollercoaster we have ‘Hollow’, returning the listener to a more downbeat place; a delightful Wurlitzer interlude taking your breath away at one point…Klaus Wunderlich would be mightily impressed. ‘Alice’ maintains the sombre tone, the echo of tumbleweed almost palpable at the end as we segue into the similarly dreamy ‘Dead Balloons’, the gaze fixed squarely on the shoes.
‘Blue Inside’ and ‘Jupiter’ provide us with more sparkling slices of indie-pop, further reinforcing the impression that this collaborative effort has been well worth it, a couple of truly kindred spirits discovering each other. Closer ‘Winter’s Child’, provides a predictably dramatic climax as we finally discover from whence the band acquired their name.
Verging on a match made in heaven.
Words - Mike Price
Out now on Mute Records