Monday, January 27, 2014

Writer on Loud and Clear Records

This isn't a new release from the Brooklyn duo of brothers Andy & James Ralph in Writer but it's the first time I'm hearing their crazy bunch of influences cobbled together. I can't help but wonder if it's the magic of the duo, let alone a blood related duo that would have something to do with the kind of reckless combinations of super pop pressed onto this single. That sense of experimentation and unselfconscious instinct has been encouraged from day one. This isn't their first single or tour and they aren't breaking up because they can't. Stuck with each other, making music together forever.

"Miss Mermaid" has all the hallmarks of an A-Side single, massive echo percussion kit with epic strides of jittery jangle electric. A looped sample and dirty crackling electric starts the cycle out, a hollow clack of sticks ring alongside this minimal and spooky opening. Andy's vocals are underwater warbled making perfect sense with these nautical themed vocals. The texture is great on this, even that loose deep kick sounds like it's muffled under a pillow reef. The change from that post punk jangle to the epic scale of this chorus is what makes this the A-Side though. Reverse piano strikes and chorus phaser warble pops up for the later verse but this distorted mess of a solo makes sure this isn't going too smiley. They're happy to play around with odd timings or techniques but it's all in service of this fantastic pop track. Like the Annuals it's almost an orchestral pop without the traditional string section, it's made up of a thousand tiny elements that add up to their mammoth statement.
B-Side's "Swamp Fire Lake" opens on a synthy sounding slow guitar melody joined by the schreech of a theremin or high jangle taught strings. Andy's laying down a monotone somber vocal before going big with laser bursts of distortion. Lots of changes; a sign of their wealth of ideas all jammed into these switchbacks and turns. Those pounding cathedral drums give this an eerie feel or I'm imagining this 'swamp fire lake' place which rumbles with tom strikes and swirling endlessly delayed guitars. An heir to Grandaddy that opening melody returns with blues twang and this falls even more on the side of backwoods creeps with laptops.

On marble dark grey/green vinyl from Loud & Clear Records.

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