I write a lot but recently I realised that I don’t write about music enough.
And so, from today, I shall endeavour to write 1 record review a week for the next year. That’s 52.14 record reviews. I’ll be looking for nuggets of magic that you otherwise wouldn’t find, songs covered in dust and once warm cookie crumbs, self-recorded musical dreams from little heads scattered across the globe like pixie dust.
So without further ado, let’s start with this great big rock of musical goodness.
I first heard Paul’s Grandfather via One Headed Boy’s Facebook page, a charming video full of harmonies and pot pans and knowing looks and a simply lovely acoustic take of a song called “The Vapors”. I could ramble on about how mind-blowingly good that version is, but instead I will direct you to watch the video here:
This inevitably led me to go look for a full-length record, which in turn led me to “The Sorry Lovers and The Living Lake”, an album that exceeded my already high expectations and then some. Not in the least bit dust-covered or crumb-stained, this record was brimming with beautifully written folk/pop masterpieces, deservedly well recorded and imaginatively arranged, the whole thing sparkling like faraway stars on a night where everything makes temporary sense in your life.
That’s how listening to Paul’s Grandfather makes me feel. Transported, somewhere else, no longer typing at this crummy desk in a stuffy office, but elsewhere, awake, strung along in the wake of three female harmonies that compliment each other like they were made to be heard like this. “Oh Great River” is an outstanding opening, flowing and frothing, full of soul and hand claps, musically intricate and melodically majestic at the same time.
Elsewhere “The Wonder Years” is an incredible multi-layered ballad with lush strings and a marching drum beat, Neutral Milk Hotel meets three genetically engineered upgrades of Joan Baez, injected with the same strange other-worldly superpowers of Woodstock and campfires and wonder.
“I’m With You In Kilgore” is one of my personal favourites, everything working so, so wonderfully in tandem, the sudden upchange in tempo, rattling tin cans, and gleeful accordion. The sort of song you promise to go back to and delve into the words, not a sunflower seed, but a ready-to-take-home towering flower that you can place on the window sill of your brain and watch on a sunny afternoon when you’ve nothing to do but appreciate those things around you worth appreciating.
For those of you missing the Hall of Mirrors (Lenn9o9n) check out the beautiful shimmering “Bobby’s On A Riverboat” and tell me you don’t fall head over heels for it.
Finally “Eighteen Aught Five” is the perfect closing song to the as-perfect-as-you-can-get pop album, timeless voices entwined over a simple acoustic guitar, where “my heart has been broken since 1805″. And I realise I keep dropping in that word “perfect”, but that’s truly what this 8-song collection is, something truly memorable for all the right reasons, not a single song too long or short, everything fitting into place like pieces of an already long completed puzzle you just happened to find on a table, in a field, under the moon, when you opened your eyes and didn’t quite know where you were.
I don’t know much about Paul’s Grandfather, and since “The Sorry Lovers…” is three years old and there doesn’t seem to have been much activity since, it’s impossible to say whether this was that once-in-a-lifetime perfect starry night of a record or just the beginning. And although I really wonder how it could ever be possible to surpass it, I’d love to hear them try.
(51.14 to go)