Thursday, 17 February 2011

Brown Recluse - Evening Tapestry (Slumberland)

Psychadelic pop is an oddly beautiful form of music that can split into two possible disparate directions; either wonderfully jaunty 60s pop rock or spiralling, swirling freak-out psych alongThe Flaming Lips line of outlandishness. Brown Recluse are a five piece from Philadelphia who combine a little of the two approaches to this uniquely exhilarating genre of pop music to forge a decadently luxurious sunny sound on their latest effort 'Evening Tapestry'.

Ambient, mystical sound swells in the first moments of opening track 'Hobble To Your Tomb', before a sweetly sung slice of indie pop (albeit interlaced with whirring, child-like electronics) grasps hold and leads you on a merry-go-round of jaunt and joy. The aforementioned introduction is somewhat subdued compared to the majority of a record that prefers to sit in a memory of sunshine rather than the bite of winter, recalling a Beach Boys for the 21st century, full of surf rock guitar patches and buoyantly beating percussion.

There are sparkling spots of sonic sunshine scattered throughout the record, evident in the likes of 'Summer Showers', a track that starts life with the quaintly serene vocals of Timothy Meskers. He possesses a rarely found softness and deftness in his vocal meandering, sauntering up and down scales with utter ease, drifting into dream territory with a bittersweet air and aura. 'Beautiful Light' is a stopgap in the midst of the album that highlights the blatant and bold comparisons between Brown Recluse and the 60s psych bands, who utilised classical composure to craft loving pop songs that toyed with the ideas of harmony to update and renovate pop music for a new youth suddenly gripped by rock and roll fever.

I am not quite sure if we are in anything comparable to this in 2011; rather true rock music is something that has been twisted, turned, transformed and trampled on so many times, people have been turning to electronics, computers and warped representations of rock to satisfy the primal urge that kick-started when Elvis started shaking his hips on stage (of course, it all started back with the blues but, for white, mainstream America, Elvis was basically Satan with a quiff). Similar to such luminaries (and obvious influences) as The Zombies and Phil Spector, they keep the length of their musical manifestations down to around the three minute mark; this is the tried and tested rule of gripping pop music and the half hour running time of the record, though brief, surely does flutter by in the blink of a lazy, daydreaming eye.

As the record winds down, after another jingling gallop in 'At Last', we find a lounge-like quality in amidst the psychosis, reflecting a sound that resembles The Shins on acid; all glimmering radiance with an underlying pensiveness in the retreating rhythm of 'Paisley Tears'. The finale bookends the tale of an Evening Tapestry with 'March To Your Tomb', a more defiant approach to heading towards the grave as folk-led riffs, a surprisingly effective dash of organ and the baroque pop vocals map out the longest track so far, perhaps allowing the band to play themselves out in an oodling manner; carefree yet concise, and with a sense that this is the end of their tale (for now) and that someone, somewhere, will live happily ever after.

Words : Adam Parker

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