The Bigger Lovers – How I Learned To Stop Worrying

(Munich MRCD220)Newsgroups: uk.music.alternative
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 11:44:36 +0100

I’ve had this album now for about three months and as much as I loved its powerpop hooks on first listening, it’s only improved with exposure. You can find info about the band here:

The Bigger Lovers

The first track, ‘Catch & Release’, is a storming, riff-driven opener. It sounds, as does much of this album, like a lost track off TFC’s ‘Bandwagonesque’ but more…um..American.

‘I’m Here’ is simply *lovely*. It’s an acoustic guitar chug, with a bobbling happy bassline, huge handclaps and stacked harmonies. It’s got a lolloping, summery groove to it and a hugely infectious melody. This is one I’ve found myself singing walking round town. Honestly, if you’ve *ever* loved any guitar pop, you’ll love this.

And that holds true for this album as a whole. Yes, elements of it could be accused of being retro but the songs here rise above that. They’re concise and precise, there’s no self-indulgent jazz odysseys here, just distilled pop.

‘Forever Is Not So Long’ is a two minute fucking gem of a song. From the opening guitar riff, I was hooked. My head started nodding and I wanted to know the words to sing along. This is the kind of pure pop that many C86 bands tried to attain but failed miserably at. Not that The Bigger Lovers are C86, they’re more Todd Rundgren than The Pooh Sticks… and damn proud of it. This song will be one of my future favourites and is definitely gonna appear in many comps I do for mates. Hell, if you don’t like this song, you probably don’t like pop music.

‘Threadbare’ is another stormer… and I’m checking the album and it’s only number 7! The songs are so strong on this that I’m continually thinking ‘ah, this must be a strong one they’ve saved for the end.’ But no, they’re all little poppy wonders. Again, if pop’s your taste, that’s good but if you’re a Wire reader you’ll probably find this dreadfully un-trendy and not ‘challenging’ enough, whatever the fuck that means.

I’m guessing that The Bigger Lovers are Monkees fans cos ‘America Undercover’ is like the great-grandson of ‘DW Washburn’ but with references to ‘come-stained dresses’ which they probably couldn’t have gotten away with in the sixties.

‘Summer (Of Our First Hello)’ is another tune made for pretty girls in convertibles. It’s piano-led this time, with a dreamy whispering verse vocal that resolves into a leaping chorus, complete with backing ‘ba-ba-baas.’ Good.

If anyone remembers Red Kross, The Bigger Lovers have a similar poppyness but they’re far more consistent and less metal. They’ve got the same roots of bubblegum pop and Byrdsy harmonies. The closer, ‘Out Of Sight’ goes further into country-folkdom than the rest of the album and does it beautifully. Shimmering slide geetar dovetails with a wobbling organ and yearning vocals.

One thing I’ve missed talking about so far is the lyrics. This is cos I’m still thrown by the music but that’s not to say that the lyrics are bad – there’s some lovely imagery on here, of summertime and wasted youth and ‘precious oils from New Zealand.’ I’m just still at the singing along stage rather than the making sense bit πŸ™‚

Buy this album if you’ve ever loved The Monkees, Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Teenage Fanclub or being alive and feeling the sun on your face. Don’t buy it if you’re looking for cutting-edge sound design to impress your mates with,

love and kisses,

Jyoti

Which Side Are You On?

(This is a reply I did to a post on an online webforum that was arguing that white people are responsible for most of the evil in the world)

Quote (Mandy060 @ April 30 2002,23:37)
how can u find micael moore rascist. he tells the one thing we don’t want to hear but we all know is true: white ppl are responsible for most of the world problems. nuclaer bombs, ww2, the gun….. i could go on all day

Naaaaah – it was Chinese people who invented gunpowder. And a little Jewish guy made the first formal suggestion to the US government about using nuclear weapons against the Japanese. It’s not a question of black or white, male or female, gay or straight or whatever else capitalism uses to divide us. It’s a question of class. And in the Marxist sense there are only two: do you have to sell your labour to survive or do you live off the labour of others? Even though I’ve got a (dwindling) stack of money now, that’s from selling what I do (music) and my only future income is from the same source. To say that white people (which is a dubious scientific category for a start) are responsible for all the evil in the world is as ridiculous as saying men are responsible for all evil. And it plays into the hands of sectarianism, niche politics. Why fight organised capital, who always stand shoulder to shoulder with their police forces and armies, when we can fight each other? It’s not even what class you’re born into. Just think how many deluded working-class Tories there are. Or, conversely, posh people with brains like Tony Benn. White-shmite… it’s all a question of good vs. evil. The people who say this PC crap about white people being evil are just woolly-jumpered fucking liberals. Tell them to talk to me and I’ll give them a brown-power Marxist slap round their petit-bourgeois heads There’s only one race! love and kisses, Jyoti

CDs versus Vinyl?

(This is a reply I did to a post on an online webforum that was arguing that vinyl still sounds better than CD.) I agree with you on that one, owning both vinyl and CD REM. But I think it’s a question of mastering…

The people who mastered the REM vinyl cuts were probably experienced cutters who knew how to make vinyl sound sweet. My vinyl of New Order’s ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ also sounds loads better than the CD version. But if I make a CDR of the vinyl, it sounds lovely. Too often when companies have re-released something on CD, they’ve just bunged the original stereo master onto CD!

The best example I can think of is the CD version of Kraftwerk’s ‘Computerworld’ which hasn’t even been goddamn normalised. If I’m DJing, I have to watch out for any tracks off it and zoom the volume right up πŸ™ Also, if you listen to very early CDs, they’re often terrible transfers, probably done from 16bit originals, rather than 24bit masters -> 16bit with proper dithering.

So the loss is in the transfer from the original analogue multitrack or two-track master. The CD just captures this with terrible clarity. Another factor is that early DAT machines had no fucking dithering at all. If I listen to DAT masters of my stuff from around ’89, you can hear noise creep in at the end of reverb tails where there’s just not enough resolution. Yecch! I’ve had to manually re-fade all these bastards when I’ve re-mastered that material.

CD can sound as warm and involving as vinyl, providing as much effort is put into the source recording and mastering as vinyl gets. Sadly, the tightfisted fucks at record companies don’t give a shit.

Now they’re re-issuing the same old stereo stuff on SACD and DVD, sometimes getting ‘surround’ by playing the old tapes through stereo monitors and recording the result in 5.1.

Twats!
love and kisses,
Jyoti