Friday, December 5, 2008

Cheval Sombre on Static Caravan records + Podcast EP 34

I got an email from Cheval Sombre last week to see if 7inches would be interested in reviewing their latest single.... and of course I wanted to.
In fact I just finished putting it on after a long day
and it was the perfect, drinking at home, cold winter day soundtrack.

The sleeve looks screen printed on recycled off grey soft cardstock, really nice block woodcut looking graphics.

The A-side 'I Found It Not So'
by Cheval Sombre, or Dark Horse, is a moody real syrupy number, lazily rotating around the turntable. It's slow strummed acoustic guitar, with muted organ and reverb electric guitar way off in the distance....a little bit western.
You might even think you're listening to Calexico until a little electronic sound makes it way a tiny lazer, or probably a hard drive spinning up and then powering down.

There are also some real low bass tones which will over modulate all over the place if you have any kind of EQ in the lower range turned on in the slightest. It's probably the layered low vocals, all piling up and pushing out any other sound.
There's the Luna connection, of course, I think the husband and wife team of Dean and Britta from Luna 'teaming up with and lending production touches' to these tracks. It's very influenced, headed off down the Luna paved path. Cheval's full length is even coming out on Dean's label I can definitely hear that, but it's also not far away from JAMC either in vocal quality...or even Lambchop comes to mind.
It's the kind of thing that washes around and fills up the acoustic space, even bringing up some bad memories, those things you didn't really want to think about, but can't help.
Nice little reverb solo, in between almost whispered vocals. It's a dream where you can't really move
...just give in.

This cover of 'Where did our love go' is entirely original, a drum machine fades in with an alien rhythm that's slightly dancy and the layered vocals slowly work over the lyrics doubling nicely kind of contrasting with the seeming uptempo beat.
It's drawn out, vocals on echo chamber overdrive.
Musically it's played at half time barely strumming out the melody on the beat. The guitar has this huge room sound, while the drum machine is right inside your head flat against the surface. Some reverb high solo work fades out to the mechanical beat, and burns off the fog...

It might still be available from Static Caravan but you might try a smaller distro for the few remaining copies...

Static Caravan Records / Released: 17th November 2008 / Catalogue Number: VAN172
Because the night belongs to lovers, or in this case the remnants of love: some records are ideal listening for specific times of the day, and the latest languid single from Cheval Sombre is best savoured in the twilight.
These two sides of softly building melancholia find Cheval Sombre teaming up with Sonic Boom, who lends production touches, and Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna...) and Britta Phillips (Luna). "I Found It Not So" and "Where Did Our Love Go" – a re-imagining of the Supremes' lovelorn plea – are coupled here on VAN172, a pairing of moonlit laments cloaked in hushed tones and quiet yearning.

"I Found It Not So" is infused with a sense of sleepy reverie; a low-key lullaby which echoes and chimes while floating around your sub-conscious. While effects whoosh and soar, plangent guitar melodies creep and intertwine, moving to a warm climax. It's all topped off with barely-there vocals, a whispered dream filled with a sense of longing which belies the almost post-coital atmosphere.

Likewise, the low-key facsimile of "Where Did Our Love Go" licks off all traces of a sugary Motown coating and reveals a dark, vulnerable tale of loss, regret and desire. There's a nocturnal intimacy audible in this bruised arrangement; stripped to the bare bones musically and emotionally, it somehow reconciles its brooding universe with the wistful mask of the original, wrapped in a somnambulant haze.

A full-length Cheval Sombre LP will be released early 2009 on Double Feature Records, the new label run by Dean Wareham.

"I Found It Not So / Where Did Our Love Go"
Edition of 500 on 7" wax with artwork by Ben Javens

Podcast this week - EP 34:
Dave talks about the theatrical Of Montreal show in NYC (a horse!), Guided by Voices
, and working at half price books with Jared from Times New Viking in Columbus, where they opened for Arcade Fire, and recorded his band on a 1/2 tape in their attic.
(One mic was fucked up, too low but just listen to Dave's side of the conversation anyway...I have to have him back for an all music episode sometime. In the background we play Fucked up, Lesbian Afternoon, and No age.)

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