Posts Tagged ‘60s pop’

14th February 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

A Sunday is an unusual day to release a single but then, the ‘Teetering’ single release is can be considered a Valentine’s gift of sorts, from polyartist Carmina Budworth. It’s a love song, a song about falling in love, that point on the brink of uncertainty, the excitement and anticipation of something new, told vividly through hazy images of the kind of drunken night out with music and people that seem so very long ago. And as such, it’s not only a love song to an individual, a song about that moment, but can be taken as a love song to the time before everything stopped.

Recorded in between lockdowns back in June of last year, it’s a song of optimism, of new beginnings. It lands at a time when after what has been for many the longest, hardest winter, there is a growing sense of optimism for new shoots of life concurrent with the coming of spring, and ‘Teetering’ conveys that spirit of optimism tempered by trepidation.

There’s a timelessly old-fashioned or vintage feel to the song that goes beyond the traditional Argentinean tango and 60s pop vibe that’s laced with soul, and it stands in contrast with the swelling drum machine beats that eventually grow to lead the backing and propel the song to a blossoming flourish of a finish that’s entirely contemporary.

Carmina has a distinctive and unusual vocal style, which is at once soft and strong, delicate and powerful. That’s not to mention her impressive range, that spans a ponderous whisper to sky-soaring freedom, and it’s enthralling. Carmina carries the listener on a wave that builds and lifts and stops before the drop. It’s a wonderful experience.

The ‘Malica Surprise’ mix pins down a smooth electropop groove with a crisp, solid beat and bulbous bass that brings new dimensions to a song that’s already multi-dimensional, making this quite a package.

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12th February 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Released digitally last autumn, Para Lia’s Gone With The Flow gets a ‘proper’ physical release this month. The second album from the German duo, consisting of René and Cindy Methner, has already drawn comparisons to Dinosaur Jr, Arcade Fire, and The Mission, as well as referencing in the press release – the hearteningly specific – ‘early Editors’.

It all makes sense with the blistering opener, ‘My Muse’ – a post-punk influenced adrenaline shot that showcases some wild soloing that somehow manages not to sound wanky. See, I’m not one for guitar solos myself, but find that J Mascis’ best efforts are enough to reduce me to tears. ‘Kassandra’ hits that spot: it’s a cutty post-punk revival effort that’s got the pomp of The Mission, complete with the wordless backing vocals Julianne Reagan delivered to absolute perfection on songs like ‘Severina’, and topped with an absolutely melting solo that twists, turns and weeps all over it. I should probably be tired of this by now, but when presented with just the right blend of nostalgia and quality

They don’t always pull it off: ‘Riders on the Dike’ is more ramshackle punk-folk with a ragged vocal delivery reminiscent of Shane Macgowan that simply doesn’t quite sit, and ‘Time and Again’ follows a folksier bent that grates a shade, feeling slightly forces and off-track despite some soaring harmonies from Cindy.

But it’s more hit than miss, as the slow-burning ‘Fools’ brings swathes of mournful strings to the post-rock tempest that swells as the song progresses, and the tense jangle of ‘Fire’ evokes the spirit of 1985, not just instrumentally but with its thick production, where the bass and guitar clump together, cut through by a sharp-topped snare sound.

‘Kaleidoscope’ is every bit as shimmeringly layered as the title suggests, and notes of New Model Army and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry are present as they drive a forward trajectory with an insistent rhythm section and some choppy guitars pinned back in the mix. Last track, ‘No Time for Butterflies’ combines psych-hued 60s pop, folk, and 90s alternative to forge a pleasant and exhilarating finale, and if there’s little about Gone With The Flow that’s overtly ‘new’, it’s a unique combination of older forms rendered with real style and some solid songs.

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