Tuesday, September 06, 2011

-valis Pick of the Week

New week, new Pick!

I was hipped to this album just last week by my nephew who stated "I think you'll like this!" He was right. I do like this. A lot.

Self-released rather than sat upon, All In The Golden Afternoon's magic lighthouse on the infinite sea winds and whirrs and pulses with panache. We are all better for their decision to go the self-released route in the face of circumstances put upon the band.

Getting iker spozio to do the cover art is a coup, too! He's done some of the best cover art for the old Ptolemaic Terrascope. Speaking of the Terrascope, Ian Fraser wrote the following:

" Named after a poem from the trippiest of children’s books, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, husband and wife duo Carlos Jackson and Rachel Staggs specialise in lo-fi, deceptively innocent sounding dream pop but which on this outing at least displays both an edge and a creative maturity which ensures it never sounds twee.

Ranging from instrumental like “Advice From A Caterpillar” and “The Pool of Tears”, the woozy acid pop of “In A Box” - which sounds like a slowed down and deconstructed outtake from Hawkwind’s “Hall of Mountain Grill” - delightful, semi-sweet shoegaze vignettes and the hypno-tronic, download –only closer “Up All Night – Western Arms Remix” *, Magic Lighthouse on the Infinite Sea is bound to draw at least superficial comparison with the likes of Mazzy Star, Damon and Naomi, even latter day Broadcast. However, make no mistake, this has both an instant and enduring charm of its own and stands favourable comparison with any of the “peer group”.

Other than the quality of the music, the reason why this works well is pacing. Aside from the deliciously ethereal eight minute, “30th and Sanchez” (featuring some serious Theramin action courtesy of Octopus Project’s Yvonne Lambert) only the aforementioned “Up All Night...” clocks in at more than 5 minutes. In fact, most of the rest barely touches half of that. Whilst those who consider the world to have started and ended with side-long slow burners may be tempted to feel short changed at this point, bear in mind that this sort of format doesn’t allow for much latitude as a result of which it would be easy for this to quickly become a boring retread of itself. In this case, less really is more and it is to Jackson and Staggs’ credit that that they are able to keep proceedings so fresh and interesting throughout.

The verdict? Well, Magic Lighthouse on the Infinite Sea is pleasingly poptastic in a way that goes straight to your psychedelic psunspot (and in a way that shouts “silly grin alert”). Great cover from the inimitable Iker Spozio, too.

(*For all you vinyl junkies (and where do you store it all?) then I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with the download code supplied with your album). "

You can listen to the archived stream here; or, hear it this Friday, on The Dead Man's Turn Me On, Dead Man show on Live365, where it's heard every Friday at noon eastern time, as well as Mr. Atavist's Sunrise Ocean Bender show, heard every Friday from 3 to 6am eastern, on WRIR in Richmond, VA.

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