Arriving At Night
After a full on evening of five-a-side football on a ruddy cold March night, this album managed to find itself warming my cockles, and more to the point relaxing me enough to wind down within about four tracks. It opens with the pleasant Farewell Lunch For Laura which has a slightly smoky jazz orientation with minute snippets of a soft Coltrane sounding sax sample. Victor Bermon's Arriving At Night is aptly titled, as it's one of those ambient albums that many folk will encounter for the first time after a slammin' night, having gone back to someone's house in order to relax some. It's essentially a collection of bright melodic soundscapes incorporating some loosely plucky acoustic guitar and other string instruments, dreamy Rhodesy type Vibraphone sounds and drifting jazzy rhythms. There's actually something a bit TV or film soundtrack sounding about this whole album, and in fact the track Famous Discussion kind of reminded me slightly of the delightful theme music to BBC2's Arena programme.
Photographs Are Not Memories is about as rocking as it gets which is track 3, having thought it was track 2 until I double checked so that may give you the idea of how this album blends together somewhat. In fact if anything it does tend to sound a tad samey but then personally I find most albums in this ambient vein tend to.
This is Victor Bermon's debut album for Hefty Records. Don't rely on it to get you up and out of bed in the morning but it's warm and optimistic. You could certainly do worse than finding this as the soundtrack to your nocturnal arrival at a foreign destination
The Magic Position
Opening with a veritable cascade of drums that would put Collins to shame (Phil not Jackie) I thought I was about to witness hordes of screaming crazed Roundheads charging the Cavaliers in the opening of some period war film. Then in come the even more epic, but beautifully scored strings in what turns out to be a great opening track, Overture. Having not heard any Patrick Wolf before I found myself slightly miffed that I'd missed out. He's quite clever you know, apparently he built a Theremin when he was barely in his teens. Shame I couldn't spot any on this album (but then I'm deaf as a post so wouldn't anyway). Based a lot around the piano and some stirring string arrangements, the sound of this album benefits from lots of experimentation with dirty analogue sounds and the occasional senseless dark brain-bleeding noise. However with a strong voice that is often lacking up against such a distinct and full sound such as this the whole album comes together nicely. It certainly makes for a much better soundtrack to that new series with Ray Liotta on Channel Five.
At times the young 23 year old songwriter reminded me vocally of a cross between that bloke from Divine Comedy and Edwyn Collins but with more of a wryness about him. I'd certainly like to see how he gets his girl into The Magic Position whilst singing in the major key. I liked the one with the firework sounds, Bluebells and then hark, is that the voice of Marianne Faithfull I hear on the beautiful piano and violin piece that is Magpie? Holy Sheet what a coup, this guy obviously has some noteworthy fans, if you're interested, Edward Larrikin appears on Accident and Emergency.
It's not a dance floor filler but overall I enjoyed this album, despite Get Lost starting with the sound of my alarm clock going off before turning into a summery guitary, synthy, happy lets-go-have-some-carefree-fun number. I bet that Mika bloke would love to be as good as Patrick Wolf.