Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Tripping the Light Fantastic / Honeyheads split on Dufflecoat Records
I'm a little obsessed with how a physical place can affect or influence a sound, especially since these days it really shouldn't. The two bands on this split single from Dufflecoat Records are definitely more than friendly and give you some idea of what the indie pop scene in Hamburg, Germany must be like. Like the Shout Out Louds or Love is All I want to think they arrive at these unique approaches thanks to their own specific culture and place. As much as they're influenced by the same things as the rest of the world, it's viewed through a different lens and results in combinations like this.
Tripping the Light Fantastic open with "Neon Ant Colony" who's bleeps and warbled sheets of aluminum turn into a bouncy jangle guitar reminding me of Ski Patrol or The Drums. There's some kind of warble or slight wavering to the vocal... a processing that has to have been added after the fact. Organs blaring away under these guitar chords and big vocal choruses giving this a huge pop reach that ends up with the Polyphonic Spree meeting Chrissy Hynde on top of a ferris wheel looking down at the song title in question. It's unbelievably chippy so intent on getting as shiny as possible with a Clap Your Hands authenticity, hitting on this sequence of happy chords that could go round and round forever. A spectral distorted guitar on "Lover Not A Fighter" runs right into a new wave sound that can be so optimistic, they really get into the production of these tracks, like The Annuals or a little like the Magnetic Fields throwing anything that will stick; weird phasers and layers of room effects on to end up in a new pop place and when it's done like this it honestly makes sense. If you're going to rely on those effects then use them to their fullest and in a way that doesn't try to hide what they are. Expose the process, whats going on behind this curtain? That's what makes it all the more amazing.
The Double AA side (these guys aint no B-side material!) from Honeyheads, "Funeral Joe" comes out with a talking heads pop nervous weirdness combined with an island, tropical sound. Toms and odd rhythms against that high twinkly treble electric challenging the fact it all fits together with a crazy attitude and clear vision. This side has me even more thinking about The Drums or Tennis. This screamy distorted guitar is a bizarre metal way to end this but they just about get away with it. "Song of Sealed Lips" introduces a new vocalist (I think) and a fast tom rhythm in a sort of pop Siouxsie track. Off kilter enough to be another movement of the first track, this could be a duet, or a response to funeral joe galloping along, effortless in arrangement, there's nothing on the surface or plugged in to make this ever seem like it could get so big. Exuberant pop like the A-Side, they hit on gleaming chords and line them to up so when the light hits them it's a prism. Or given the right angle and distance leaves catch fire...or the ants in that colony.
Pick this up import from Dufflecoat Records and get more from both bands thanks to Jigsaw Records who are regularly importing the stuff.