Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pastoral

Back in the late eighties, when days had no beginning and days had no end, also when shadows grew no longer etc. etc., you'd mainly have found me listening to gothic stuff like the Sisters of Mercy and New Model Army, interspersed with early 80s new-wave post-punk things like Elvis Costello and XTC. But when all the darkness, misery, blood-encrusted snow, sexual jealousy etc. got too depressing, that era also did a nice line in pastoral folk-pop, purveyed by the likes of Frazier Chorus and the Lilac Time.

These were unashamedly middle-class chaps who liked nothing better than to sing in a slightly fey* manner about kettles, bicycles, buses, trains (in fact, mundane modes of transport feature quite heavily), the English countryside and pretty girls with long hair and - probably - crocheted hats. A bit like the musical equivalent of the Boden catalogue, come to think of it. But for all that, it was lovely and sweet and comforting, like a nice big cup of tea after a winter walk.

Which is why I was delighted to come across this new(ish) album by The Clientele. It's called Strange Geometry, which might make you think of the sort of clever-clever ambient nonsense peddled by Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin. But no! This is as lovely and pastoral and fey and poppy as it comes, *and* it has buses in it.

Purchase, listen (ideally while walking through a wintry park, kicking up the frost-encrusted fallen leaves) and enjoy, but try not to think of the Lightning Seeds at the same time; or you'll spoil it.


* By "slightly fey", what I really mean is "exceptionally twee". Thanks to nibus for pointing that out.

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16 comments:

patroclus said...

Typical - this is my favourite post I've ever written, and not a single comment! Note to self: do not attempt music reviews. Stick with Seven of Nine, for god's sake.

And now I've been reduced to commenting on my own posts!

Oo, get me, all needy and that.

Wyndham said...

Well I like the sound it it!

Anyone?

cello said...

Busy morning. Many apologies. Errm. It's quite hard to comment on something brand new because we haven't had time to go and try it yet. Not that I would anyway. Well, not unless we negotiate a life-swap and you agree to listen to some Ligeti.

But frost-encrusted leaves I like very much indeed. And 'fey' is a super word. I assume it has etymologocal links to fairy or fee*, but I don't know. Talking of fairies, have you ever heard them called peris? The whole post has a elegaic gorgeousness rarely encountered on a Tuesday.

*sorry can't do accents in comments

patroclus said...

Ooo, the terrible sense of guilt, clinginess and co-dependence that I'm getting now! I can almost see people rolling their eyes in the way that I do at the cat when it starts chewing my hair while I'm asleep.

You are both lovely, though. Thank you.

And yes, "fey" from "fée", surely. It's Alt Gr + e for an e acute, incidentally. I've never heard of peris, will investigate forthwith. Should stop me whingeing for a bit, anyway :-)

cello said...

I know about Alt Gr + e, but every time I did it on Blogger I was taken out of the comment box. However I've just tried again and now it's OK.

ééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééééé

See? I shall become totally blasé about doing it.

sptpm: afternoon expectoration

Tabby Rabbit said...

<< *and* it has buses in it >>
What? Revving in the background? 'The hills are alive with the sound of the 391 to Hammersmith' somehow doesn't have a ring to it...

patroclus said...

Actually it's very explicit that it's a bus to Alexandra Palace, our favourite London venue...

Tabby Rabbit said...

*Shudder*. Can you hear the music above the people screaming as they are being driven away to London's Worst Venue? I could understand if a band wrote a song anout a bus that left Alexandra Palace, but to go it?

PS How many minutes between posting up the blog and then leaving the first comment? (I don't believe the blogclock)

patroclus said...

Five hours (see, I wasn't being *that* clingy). Blogclock is correct!

Smat said...

how can you roll your eyes at the cat while you're asleep? Have you developed teacher's "eyes in the back of your head"?

james henry said...

Like most of Cornwall, I was off the internet when the troll ate it. But I would have said 'good music review by patroclus there' if I had been able to. But I wasn't.

GreatSheElephant said...

tabby - where did your blog go? I was about to link to it when suddenly it all went dark...

Marsha Klein said...

Re. "peri": "Iolanthe" by Gilbert and Sullivan is subtitled "The Peer and the Peri", involving as it does the House of Lords and fairies.

Does this help?

patroclus said...

It does indeed, Marsha. And according to my good friend dictionary.com, a peri is: in Persian mythology, a beautiful and benevolent supernatural being or fairy, earlier regarded as malevolent.

Belladona is the expert on fairies, though, so I await her input.

Welcome, by the way, Marsha. I'm not sure that I've seen you here before, but my memory's not what it was.

Justine said...

i thought it was a very interesting music review. It made me think about my friend Alison who is a mite older than me, and listens to New Order and Joy Division etc (still). New wave post punk, as you say (I'm going to say that to her one day, and she'll think I'm really well informed!)
So, do you think she'd like this album?

Tabby Rabbit's comments made me laugh actually out loud, and quite hysterically in tone, I might add!

patroclus said...

Yes, that Tabby Rabbit is a very funny girl. (Not like that, TR!)

Umm, you'd probably have to be a totally joyless person *not* to like this album, but on the other hand your friend likes Joy Division, so it's not an easy judgment.

Try brandishing the Boden catalogue at her and see how she reacts - if it makes her go all wistful at the thought of long winter walks along picturesque deserted beaches while pushing an old-fashioned bicycle, then yes, she'll enjoy it. If, on the other hand, it makes her want to petrol bomb Johnnie Boden and his entire mail-order operation, then it's safe to assume she won't.

Hope this helps! Welcome along, by the way. I don't think I've said that before. All fans of Elliott Smith are most welcome in this little corner of the blogosphere.