Posts Tagged ‘Bunny & the Invalid Singers’

Bearsuit Records – 31st October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Because life had been getting a bit predictable – y’know, with nothing happening but the same old same old, work / life at home / going nowhere schtick – it was without time to mix things up. A second lockdown and a new release from Bearsuit certainly fits the bill there, since after another half-arsed, muzzy bag of mumbling waffle from that tousle-haired tosser who probably couldn’t even give a straight answer to the question of whether or not he knew what a straight answer was, no-one really knows what the fuck’s happening, least of all half the government, a bewildering array of discombobulating sonic collage courtesy of Bunny & the Invalid Singers feels positively coherent by comparison.

This single – featuring a remarkably conventional A-side and B-side – comes as a taster of an album, The Flight of the Certainty Kids, scheduled to land in January.

Delicate, picked acoustic guitar that combines elements of classical and folk paves the way for a mellow, easy-listening vibe, with a meandering horn weaving its way across a slow, slouchy beat, and it comes on like latter-day JG Thirlwell compositions melting into Groove Armada. If that sounds like a curious and not altogether complimentary combo, think again: it’s a coming together of aspects of cinematographic vision and a breeziness of a bygone era, that bright, skippy 60s pop style with a subtle psychedelic twist. It’s mellow, and it’s well-executed, and lifts the listener towards a tranquil space.

It’s probably the distortion of history as played through the filters of 21st century retrospect – you know, all those ersatz Kodachrome-filtered scenes of joyful skipping around, weaving daisy chains and carefree living in microdresses, flares, flowing locks, beards and sideburns… How we idealise the past. The swinging 60s bypassed most of those there at the time, just as punk wasn’t the revolution that’s endlessly eulogised for the majority grinding away at day jobs or otherwise blissfully unaware in the suburbs. Nevertheless, a semi-fabricated 60s lounge and ultra-chill vibe is the main flavour of flipside ‘None of this Happened’, and maybe the clue is in the title: maybe it’s a wilful misremembrance, a distortion. It’s pleasant enough, of course, and perhaps appropriately, it all goes off in every direction toward the end, and we’re left in a sonic whirlpool of weird.

It’s another creative success for Bunny and Co, and augers well for the album, at least if you’re on the market for a full set of psychedelic pop strangeness.

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Bearsuit Records – 20th April 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Try as I might – and I do, I really do – I find it impossible to avoid words like ‘weird’ ‘whacky’, and ‘oddball’ in reviews of anything released on the Edinburgh micro-label Bearsuit Records. This is no reflection of a lack of vocabulary on my part: it’s simply what they do. Every boutique label needs some kind of signature or house style, and a micro-label really needs a niche. Bearsuit specialise in stuff that’s so far out it’s beyond.

Fear of the Horizon is actually pretty conventional by Bearsuit standards – but these things are all relative. ‘Eamon the Destroyer’, the album’s first cut, arrives in a flourish of expansive prog-rock guitar and twittering electronics, all on top of a thumping beat that’s pure dark hip-hop. And then the guitars really takeover and we’re in territory that’s suspiciously close to be being categorizable as ‘rock’. But then ‘The Positive Approach of Talkative Ron’ swings into view in waltz-time and goes all weirdy… and then there’s whistling and another epic guitar solo.

Pancultural influence are infused within the glitching electronic fairground fabric of ‘Woman With the Plastic Hand’, with its stuttering beats and woozy organ sound, while ‘Vandal Schooling’ brings with it a crunch of industrial noise and stabs of bold orchestral brass, taking a sharp turn from abrasive to mellow around the mid-point and locking into a metronomic hard, industrial-disco flavoured groove near the end. For the most part, though, the sounds are soft-edged, mellow, supple, analogue.

‘The Horizon Project’ brings together mellow and woozy, its mellow motifs and nod-along beats cracked with a stylophone break and underlying hiss of distortion. It runs contra to the chilled beats and quite accessible lead melody.

‘Weird’ ‘whacky’, and ‘oddball’… they’re all entirely appropriate adjectives, but fail to account for the depth and range of Fear Of The Horizon. As hard as it may be to take seriously an act going by the name of Bunny & the Invalid Singers, there’s real merit to this work that goes far beyond the superficial quirkiness. ‘Weird’ ‘whacky’, and ‘oddball’ don’t convey the wistfulness, the melancholy, the nostalgia, range of emotions, moods and mindsets.

This is where I should sign off with a suitably witty flourish, or some pun-based punchline, but such flippancy would be to only further undermine the true merits of an album which clearly shows no fear. Fear Of The Horizon is a fun, entertaining, and enjoyable work but don’t let the oddness and goofiness lead you to believe it isn’t serious, or art. Because it’s most definitely both.

AA

Bunny & the Invalid Singers – Fear Of The Horizon