Friday, March 23, 2012

OLYMPIAN Three Songs

Paper Boats Sink’ said the email on the demise of Aron Robinson’s previous band. Sadly not many people took notice of the short-lived,six-piece Paper Boats: I wrote about them in July 2010 here and remember this live review from the time but saw precious little other coverage. But maybe his new band Olympian will prove a more durable and more widely acknowledged offering.

In Olympian Aron Robinson is joined by Justin Sheran. The duo’s music is not a stylistic departure from Paper Boats but is a distinct leap forward in sonic quality (remarkable given these delicately precise trio of songs were recorded in Justin’s front room). Olympian play nocturnal chamber pop songs that combine the downbeat compassion of fellow Mancunian bands I Am Kloot and Elbow with sparse, low-key arrangements. They are not as anguished or bitter as John Bramwell’s songs and don’t share the large-scale grandeur of Guy Garvey and co but instead have a softer, romantic fatalism to their late night tales of drunken fools, regrets and walking away.

‘Letting Go’ starts with just rippling piano, some Spanish acoustic guitar and flat voiced resignation – but from muted introspection through clever swells and surges it brings in a sense of rising hopefulness despite the fact “we never learn”. It is poised, moving and quite beautiful; and a lesson in how to make chamber orch-pop without the full-blown orchestrations. ‘Punched Out’ however does bring in the sweeping string section after a harder-edged intro – it’s a classy combination of beaten down misery and soaring, rich strings. From its strummed electric guitar opening ‘Change Will Come’ has a sense of cautious but determined forward motion. It’s still a quiet, reflective number but relatively it is the most animated and most quietly optimistic of these three home recordings.

In these their first publicly available songs Olympian appear a bit more demure than the ruthlessly determined titular athlete aiming for ‘faster, stronger, higher’. But in their own way these are gold medal performances. Ones to watch. Again.

Letting Go - Olympian by FollyOfYouth

Olympian Three Songs [DOWNLOAD]

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