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Almost Daily – 21/1/07

January 21, 2007

I Thought That You Would Wait Outside

Sat in front of the machine after long bloody week. I think, for a total of five minutes, I was just staring absently at PostSecret. I read that fairly automatically these days… it’s a process not a choice. Maybe I need to find new things to take up my eye-time.
Frank Turner’s launch party. Weird being there. Seeing him relaxed and talking, albeit briefly, about how much he feels he’s achieved. Kind of inspiring actually. Other than that I’ve been doing a fair few reviews, to be posted below, and just really enjoying the writing process. I know now I want to do much more of that come summe, get experience when and where I can. It feels good playing with words and pictures. Though I’m sure there’s a dissertation I’m ignoring sat somewhere in the periphery of my head.
Neon Bible scares me
Today I’ve been a slave to alcohol. Well, quiet drinks and the like. Very relaxing. Fery summery. Very comforting. I feel able to cope with another seven now, but I think that’s as much to do with how little I’m going to be in at work as anything else.
While I remember, it’s Ellie’s Birthday Tuesday, so please all come to Panic!
Yeah?
Yeah.

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The Good, The Bad and The Queen for London Student

The Good, The Bad and The Queen deserves more than ‘Blur side-project’ status. Damon Albarn has collated some of his best song-writing and Notting Hill influences to create an album that luxuriates in the shadow of the Westway.

It’s not immediately accessible, but the trickiest element is not the band but the production. Danger Mouse comes off at times simply as a Good Producer: ‘Herculean’ is multi-tracked to death while ‘Northern Whale’ sticks out like pop’s sore thumb and Paul Simonon is frequently too high in the mix while the incomparable Tony Allen comes off as restricted.

At other times the Gnarls Barkley co-creator seems inspired, ridding the record of surface gloss, making it sound somehow authentic. ‘History Song’ crackles with a music hall heritage, while ‘Green Fields’ and ‘Kingdom of Doom’ instantly sear themselves as contemporary classics.

The very English marriage between twee portraiture and after-dark resignation makes Albarn’s musings on War, unemployment and London Town feel part of a longer tradition. But, like Portobello itself, there’s still the faint hint of class tourism; fascination with the state of the world, not answers to problems. It brings The Good, The Bad and The Queen frustratingly close to the organic whole of a Robert Schneider production or the diversity of a Factory classic but stops just short.

© Matthew Sheret – 2007

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Frank Turner @ Nambucca 15/1/07 for London Student

Dispossessed punks, scenester trash, fey indie-kids and bookish grown-ups: Another Nambucca Show. Tonight the Holloway bar plays host to the Album Launch of one Frank Turner, screamo-frontman turned Punk Folk Minstrel. Sleep Is For The Week is certainly one of the strongest solo offering of the last 12months, and the crowd he’s attracted over a day of instores has created a Pied Piper of the charismatic Turner

His gang tonight includes Beans On Toast, Blah Blah Blah, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, The Tailors and more, all cribbing notes from a songbook of rejection, protest politics, hangovers and introversion. Playing four songs each and clearly enjoying themselves, tonight seems more like a house-party than a gig. The atmosphere’s relaxed, the sets are stripped bare yet welcoming. Adam ‘The Tailors’ Killip plays a beautiful set, haunting and melodic, while Sam ‘Get Cape’ Duckworth’s Hot Chip cover reacts with the hot, drunk air and background chatter to take me back to summer’s high tide.

Turner’s songs set the scene though. Angry and resigned, but catchy all the same, a full bar sings aloud “We’re definitely going to hell/but we’ll have all the best stories to tell!” In a life of sex, drugs and crap nights out in Camden sometimes the only sane response is to throw in. It’s Frank’s world, we’re all just characters in his stories.

© Matthew Sheret – 2007

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Sleep Is For The Week – Frank Turner for London Student

This is not an objective review. I was introduced to Frank Turner’s acoustic balladry by friends’ days before the collapse of Million Dead and he played some of my favourite sets of 2006. Live he’s charming and confident, with an excellent songbook to draw from.

But Sleep Is For The Week is a strange listen. Some of the arrangements jar with the blunt lyricism and the instrumental backing is often awkwardly literal, punctuating his vocals too obviously. ‘Must Try Harder’ is a perfect example; not a word is sung without a drum beat literally hammering his wishes home.

It’s not a bright album. The darkest moment comes in ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’: It’s wrought, angry, dichotomic and passionate – everything that contemporary singer-songwriters aren’t. It’s arranged perfectly, strings underscoring but not overwhelming the song. ‘A Decent Cup of Tea’ pulls off the same trick, while ‘Back In The Day’ and ‘The Ladies of London Town’ move feet and memory in the same breath.

The record hinges on Frank’s very personal experiences of a clearly screwed world. He makes it impossible not to see reflections in ones own life, and that makes qualitative analysis hard because it becomes personal to the listener too. It’s a great debut, hopefully earning him the time and money to make a brilliant record.

© Matthew Sheret – 2007

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