Sunday, April 17, 2011

GRUBBY MITTS "To A Friend's House"

Grubby Mitts is a five-piece from Bedford led by Andy Holden who has a separate creative life as a visual artist. Actually it may not be that separate: as well as ‘normal’ gigs the band also plays multi-media pieces in gallery and cinema spaces including Tate Britain where Holden also presented a solo art exhibition. But is Grubby Mitts nothing more than a dalliance or a side-project for messing about with mates? The rousing conviction of new single ‘To A Friend’s House’ (released tomorrow on Lost Toy Records) suggests otherwise.

‘To A Friend’s House’ starts with pots-and-pan syncopation and disconnected voices each separately uttering snatches of the phrase “the way to a friend’s house is never long”. A wheezy harmonium is introduced to underscore and hold the fragments together. Further depth is added through layering in extra instrumentation (string section at 2.20) so by the three minute mark the multiple layers and phrases have become an emphatic, impassioned cri de coeur. Deceptively simple but utterly uplifting: an inspiring battle-hymn of honest friendship rather than violent blood-letting.

I included ‘To A Friend’s House’ in the March edition of the Cloud Sounds podcast I guest-hosted. You can also stream it on Soundcloud or download tomorrow from iTunes. However appropriately for the first Monday after Record Store Day the single is also available as a 7” vinyl single (the B-side is a solo clarinet rendition of The Beach Boy’s ‘God Only Knows’ – simple, charming but lacking the depth of the A-side). True one NME writer is decrying the need for physical product but the continued success of Record Store Day and the modest-but-steady increase in vinyl sales suggests there are many who disagree. There is a convenience to digital but the physical form is one which endures. Either way you purchase it ‘To A Friend’s House’ is a song to be cherished.

Grubby Mitts - To a Friends House

Grubby Mitts To A Friend’s House [BUY]

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