Monday, March 09, 2009

So listen to the words of my best friend, take your time, take my time.

You like me must have asked yourself “If I ran a record label, what would I call it”? Well we’ve all been beaten to one of the best names around, one that instantly conjures up music and heartbreak: Crying Bob Records. And then I learn the label is based in Sweden, home of melody, intelligent song-writing and crisp production for many a decade now. And then that this an artist-run, independent label. Before I’ve even (consciously) listened to any music, I like the sound of Crying Bob Records a lot.

Daniel who is/runs Crying Bob (and is one-half of Friska Viljor) sent me some music to listen to and write about. I’ll save his band for another time and first write about De La Mancha.
Before listening to their album from Atlas, I imagined De La Mancha would sound like Sigur Rós: other-worldly, probably instrumental, post-rock. The artwork reinforces this and makes me want to write 'glacial' before even hearing a note. Now 'glacial' might not be out of place in describing the music but overall the sound is epic, wide-screen indie-rock closer to say Doves or Spritualized. And the latter reference is given more weight by song titles like 'Superstoned' and 'So Let's Blow Up Our Heads and Leave'.

Of the nine songs on this album, six clock in at over 7 minutes; none of them are in a rush to be out of your way. And whilst there may be a familiarity to the template (moody, slow-build intro - mid-tempo drums - then layers of crashing guitars) there is a freshness to the delivery, a touch of experimentation and a variety across the songs that makes the whole never ponderous, often joyous. Even the songs that tend to gloomy introspection (the vocal on 'Lotus Seven' recalls Bends-era Thom Yorke) have something, a chime or a chord, that uplifts. All in all, a surprisingly satisfying listen that manages to weave that (whisper it) glacially crisp Swedish production with superior Brit-friendly indie-rock, and is certainly deserving of a wider audience.

De La Mancha
Atlas [BUY or BUY]

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