Lou Breed – Stoned Out Two: Morning of the Way to Love

a1566675660_2 This is bloody great. Wonky, perhaps, and it does drift into aimlessness at times, but there is some bloody cracking stuff on here. It’s another off the radar triumph for the tiny Manchester record label Icecapades as well, after excellent work with Daily Life, Sex Hands, Pregnant, Irma Vep and Feel Right, almost all of whom are lo-fi, commercially-suicidal Manchester lo-fi heroes. But also mostly very good at music.

Lou Breed was announced in the press release as someone I should really know of already, but I have to confess I don’t. Honestly, I’m neither cool enough to be a proper hipster, nor knowledgeable enough to be a proper expert, so this kind of thing happens more than it should.

Anyhow, as a neophyte, I am pretty bloody impressed. This is lo-fi music, wonky and imperfect, and for all it may not quite all click with me, there are some brilliant songs and the album as a whole is a fine, awkward listen.

There are elements of psyche-pop, experimental noise, dreampop and fuzzy gospel, all underpinned by a basic sense of old-fashioned DIY US indie music. It’s one of those albums which avoids being all over the place by virtue of its unifying production values, and the fact that each song never seems far away from unravelling into total incoherence.

It’s a nice use of swings and roundabouts actually. Just as soon as you think you’re listening to a pop record, such as after the eminently hummable Fellow Americans and Hospital Ward, you get something more abrasive. Then after the gorgeous Countertop it’s the dreamy Antarctica. It seems like a record waiting for you to try and define it, so it can change its mind completely and become something else completely different.

By the end it’s fallen almost completely to pieces, hinting a little at what the title might mean. You can listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp, where it is available to buy digitally, or just go to the Icecapades site and buy the tape. I’ve picked out a couple of the most hummable tunes below, but there’s a lot more to this album than just the pop songs, so it’s worth listening to in its entirety before you make up your mind.

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