And All The Ships At Sea
I’ve been ranting internally all week about what has happened to everything. How everyone seems to be het up about nothing. About how everything is designed just to get something trending., Radiohead cancel the internet so we have to talk about it indefinitely. And yet and yet, someone like Lightning in a Twilight Hour releases a new record and it doesn’t even come close to become a thing that might even know what a trend is. The one thing Mark Kozelek got right recently was how sad it is to see former creative musicians now spend their days on social media getting small thrills about their past. We have plenty of musicians creating new, thrilling work that creates new memories for everyone, new things to enjoy yet we hark back to how the Sea Urchins once did a good song.
Former Field Mouse Bob Wratten doesn’t care about such distractions, here alongside Beth Arzy and Michael Hiscock he has created something which is as good as if not better than the music he created twenty years ago. Opener ‘The Sky Beyond The Sky’ is a total 100% delight - gorgeous tumbling melancholic indie pop that will give that exact same feeling to you that ‘Abba on the Jukebox’ did in 1996 or ‘Indian Ocean’ did in 1990.
Quietly, Lightning in a Twilight Hour release good music and they don’t need to shut off the internet to do it. ‘Black Circles’ showcases the vocals of former Aberdeen chanteuse Beth Arzy and it almost sounds like if two of Wratten's former bands combined, as if the Field Mice's ‘Emma House’ and Northern Picture Library's ‘Alaska’ were playing at exactly the same time possibly helped by the fact former Field Mice/Northern Picture Library singer Ann-Mari Davies turns up later on. Somehow, implausibly 'Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Lullaby’ is even better. Its lovely guitars and wash of vocals remind me of that time the Wake got trapped in the backing track of ‘I’m Not In Love’ and exemplify how important Michael Hiscock's bass lines are to this sound. The closer, the weeping ‘Notebooks/Lenticular Clouds/My Own Antarctic’ meanwhile is a kind of 18 minute twee pop-opera of gorgeous guitar tones and ambient washes all shrouded in Mitcham Common's fog.
If I give it a 10 will you click? If it comes with a free edible download will you buy it? What we have here is something increasingly uncommon - a good record that just exists. Take it home and cherish it.