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Music Album review with Ian Sinclair: February 14, 2020

Latest releases from Eyelids, Tame Impala and Arborist

Eyelids
The Accidental Falls
(Decor Records)
★★★

CONSIDERING they are a relatively unknown —at least in these parts — indie-rock five-piece Eyelids  from Oregon have managed to gather together some particularly high-profile talent for their fourth album.

The co-producer is none other than REM’s Peter Buck and the record is mixed by musical genius Tucker Martine. All the lyrics have been written by 72-year-old poet and songwriter Larry Beckett, who collaborated with Tim Buckley in the late 1960s.

The music is a melting pot of all these influences, the band’s three guitars chiming much like early REM and The Byrds.

The moreish title track is reminiscent of Pernice Brothers, another US indie band that means a lot to a few lucky people.

While the band members are firmly in middle age, the songs have a youthful, sunny melancholy to them.

Delightful stuff.

Tame Impala
The Slow Rush
(Fiction)
★★★★★

THE soundtrack to your summer has arrived early.

The fourth album from Australian Kevin Parker confirms him as one of the most talented figures working in popular music today.

As usual he writes, performs and produces all the songs. And what great songs they are, with his woozy brand of melodic psychedelic rock forming the record’s core.

There is a real sense of Parker stretching his wings, deploying hip-hop beats and Michael Jackson-style falsetto vocals (Is It True), house music (Glimmer) and ’70s soft rock (On Track).

Though they come from a different rock tradition, the only band I can think of that matches Tame Impala’s ambition and melancholic yearning is War On Drugs.

And while lots of bands use synths to create warm waves of sound like this, no-one, absolutely no-one, gets close to Parker’s genius.

Arborist
A Northern View
(Rollercoaster Records)
★★★★

WELL, this is a lovely discovery.

With his 2016 debut receiving lots of plaudits, Northern Irish singer-songwriter Mark McCambridge — aka  Arborist — returns with A Northern View, partly a reaction to “the abomination of Brexit,” he says.

If the press release hadn’t told me this I wouldn’t have a clue — what stands out is the quality of songs and McCambridge’s insightful lyrics.

Recorded in Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, his hugely talented band, playing a mellifluous mix of folk, rock, blues and gospel, with strings and horns in the mix, bring to mind his fellow Irishman Foy Vance.

On opener A Stranger Heart his soaring vocals sound a lot like Marcus Mumford, while The Guttural Blues tap into the warm gloom of Elbow’s more downbeat moments. Taxi is a brilliant spoken word story that packs a real emotional punch.

Watch this space.

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