wears the trousers magazine

sounding off: july 2009 (i)


All Of Your Friends
All Of Your Friends Are Dead ••••
The Calm Before The Music

All Of Your Friends are a group of five pals from Winnipeg who have gathered together once a week since 2006 to play music. All Of Your Friends Are Dead is the product of these meet ups, a self-recorded album of songs that simply tell stories of being and having friends. They’re calling it “sociopop”. And just like real friends, they’re giving the album away for free.

What stands out the most about All Of Your Friends Are Dead is that it is a real potpourri of sounds, vocals and instruments (with even a boiling kettle being put to use at one point). The curveball with this unusual approach is that it actually works extremely well. Each song sounds epic in its own right, with flawless boy/girl vocals from Dana, Kelly and Jono. True to their tagline “We stand for nothing and specialise in everything”, their creativeness seemingly knows no bounds. All Of Your Friends manage to convey a real sense of just how much fun was had in the making of this record. The feeling of accomplishment, love and friendship that comes with this album is worth far more than the price tag.

Claire Robinson
UK release date: 29/07/09; download for free at www.thecalmbeforethemusic.org



Barnaby Bright
Wake The Hero •••

Wake The Hero is a record for the innocent and uncynical, or for those who wish they were. The first full-length album from husband-and-wife team Nathan and Rebecca Bliss is a twee and tremulous thing, brimming with gently whispered vocals and intricately woven melodies. Singing duties are evenly split between Rebecca, whose operatic training is showcased on songs like ‘The Stone’, and Nathan, whose Garfunkel-esque acoustic harmonies are effectively displayed on the memorable, if sickly, childhood-sweethearts tale ‘The Kissing Tree’.

Taken as a whole, this much sugar on one album can be difficult to digest. While from one perspective a track like ‘If I Came Back As A Song’ is a touching declaration of selfless devotion, from another it’s so cloyingly saccharine that listening to it feels like being force-fed frosting by a creepily intent children’s television presenter. Thankfully, elsewhere hints of something edgier begin to break the syrupy surface. Opening track ‘Begging My Weakness’ is a shadowy study of guilt-wracked infidelity, and escapist narrative ‘The Girl In The Cage’ stands out for scribbles of strings and a lilting vocal line that swell to a heady, anthemic finish. Ultimately, though, your enjoyment of Barnaby Bright may depend upon the sweetness of your tooth.

Rhian Jones
UK release date: 21/04/09; download for free at www.barnabybright.bandcamp.com



Girl & A Cello ••
Music For Dreams

Girl & A Cello is the appropriately named second album from Bird, otherwise known as Janie Price, as nearly all of the sounds on the album are Price’s voice and her cello. Originally hailing from London, the album comes out of a collaboration with Danish producer Kenneth Bager and was recorded in Price’s newfound home of Copenhagen. A professional session musician for the last 10 years, it is clear right off the bat that her skills with the bow are no joke. The music here is lush and vibrant, richly produced, and full of quirky rhythms and sultry melodies. What is disappointing is that, while the cello itself clearly has something to say, it is not so clear whether Price herself does. The lyrics are frustratingly weak and ambiguous, often trying desperately hard to be clever.

‘Some Boys’ is a perfect example. The first song on the album to really showcase Price’s musical chops is also the first huge letdown, with its constant repetition of the line “some boys are bigger than others”. What’s worse is that it remains unclear whether or not the line is meant innocently or provocatively. And despite the allure of the skillfully crafted sounds and Price’s unique and appealing voice, it is hard to look past attempts to rhyme Jackie Chan with… Jackie Chan. In other words, her cello may have plenty of pluck, but her lyrical wit could use some retuning.

Elyse Cain
UK release date: 13/07/09; www.myspace.com/thisisbird 


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

there was another female vocalist – megan turnbull (as front and centre featured in the song Skin & Bones) who helped build that foundation, as well as an incredible guitarist, Trevor Graumann, who shot life into the blood (or maybe it was blood into the life?).

thanks for the review! we appreciate it, especially as your blog has such a social lens through which it views the world. you rule!

Comment by dane

ah, thanks for clearing that up Dane. Researching you guys was hard!

Comment by Wears The Trousers magazine

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