Water World – Water Bird
Released on tape on the wonderfully named Life Dunk International, this is another album from that miasma of about a dozen people in Manchester who seem to be in about twenty bands together between them.
I am pretty sure Joe from Waiters is involved, and I am fairly confident at least one of Former Bullies is on here too, but I am not all that sure. You probably know the score with that lot by now though, if you read this blog regularly, so you know what I mean.
I sometimes worry that with all these bands, and all these outlets for songs, that quality control can suffer a bit. I’ve seen it happen on a few occasions, where one of the myriad bands has some great stuff but the album as a whole doesn’t quite live up to what it might be.
I have to confess I thought this album was a case in point for a while. There were some obvious standouts, but the whole thing didn’t quite grab me. The benefit of physical media, of course, is that sometimes you get trapped with things, and the fact that this has been my only really decent tape in the van for the last few weeks has rather changed my perspective.
There may still be a couple of songs I am not as massively keen on as I might be – Looking Back and Make It Up for example – but for the most part I think this is absolutely fucking great. Tunes like Dead, I Might Not No and Catch Yrself are simple enough, but so so catchy, and they are far from alone. This is one of those albums which I had to listen to again and again, and instead of getting utterly sick of it, I’ve ended up actually wanting to listen to it even more.
I think its the combination of harsh and jangly guitars, of a vocal which sounds a bit flat and yet always holds the melody, and of music which sounds sloppy and discordant but nevertheless relies really heavily on great hooks – it’s pure pop, but made with such disarmingly hesitant style.
I know that Joe thinks he can’t really sing, but if you listen to this you’ll notice that just when the tune sounds like its about to go off the rails, it somehow gets to the edge of falling apart, and then before you know it everything is fine. Tom Waits has a knack for doing this, albeit in a very different way, and I love that kind of music. Stuff that has you wondering what the fuck is going on, before snapping back into something obviously and easily enjoyable.
So, an absolutely cracking album of guitar pop for people who like their music to feel a bit like a tightrope walker who has five or six pints first, but somehow manages to make it to the other side nevertheless.