Ethiopians – Beautiful Marmalade
It may irritate Tye Die Tapes, who were looking to publicise an entirely different release, but I am writing about this album as a result of a minor synaptic leap, which can happen when incoming PR reminds you of stuff you meant to write about ages ago, but somehow didn’t.
They were suggesting I may want to feature their newest release by Blood Sports, which of course I may yet do, but for some reason this reminded me that I have never really covered their first release on Song, by Toad. And I should have, because for all it tails off a little, there some moments of brilliance on it.
I am talking about Beautiful Marmalade by Ethiopians, which you can buy here for as much as you care to pay. It is a long-sold-out release by a band who are, I think at least, from Cleveland. Although they may not exist anymore, as the only real evidence of them is a MySpace page which seems as eerily silent and yet uncomfortably garish as you would expect from a MySpace page these days.
Anyhow, it won’t surprise you to hear that this is a lo-fi garagey pop record. Not frantic and punky, more a sort of slacker take on sprightly guitar pop, albeit one which lapses into a disinterested slur at times. The most immediate pop songs are in the first half: Buddha Tone, A Theme to Try and Rusty Arms are brilliant tracks, but after that the record goes off the rails a little.
I don’t mean that in a bad way exactly, but tight, relatively energetic pop songs give way to more grumbly, ambling, directionless tone which has some great moments, such as closer Grab Those Great Ones, but perhaps loses it a little around the middle of the record. It’s a relatively small criticism though, because this is a highly enjoyable release, and I just wish I could find a copy of the actual tape to buy somewhere. But sadly it looks like it sold out ages ago, and even eBay doesn’t bloody have one.