Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Ann Courtney & The Late Bloomers - Crocodile out on 28 April

Weirdly, it seems an absolute age since I raved about Ann Courtney & The Late Bloomers, here, and I suppose it is nearly seven weeks. Anyhow, it prompted me to have another few listens & see if they still measured up to my own err, hype.
Happily enough, they surely done-did - better than ever, to be honest, and I've mentally painted myself into a corner trying to think of something new & insightful to say, but don't hold your breath eh.

I love the alternative torch song imagery of 'Fading Bruise' - "...come and make me black & blue - can't you see I need a good talking to?" and  Pilot Light "I keep a pilot light burning in my chest, in the hope that you'll lean in, and light your cigarette".  'Nothing On Me' is splendidly sultry (although I could say that about a number of the songs), and has some wicked drums on it; 'Merteuil' (the title track, if you listen) slows things down beautifully & really shows off Ann's voice, before leading nicely into the charms & promises of 'Nice & Quiet' - but you won't believe a word of them - the delivery says something different, I reckon.

'Strong Arm' gets quite a jazzy rock feeling going for me, with some excellent guitar playing, & in turn, contrasts well with the acerbic observations on an initially sparse-sounding 'Shut Your Mouth', which reminds me how underused violins (rather than chamber'y 'string' sounds) are in popular music - as here, they can lend some real atmosphere, as do the doubled vocals. No strings on 'Down for the Winter' though, but it's likely the gentlest, most soulful song on the album - I want to say hymnal, which isn't quite right, but there's a near-religious quality about it; a very tender paean to secluded moments & places - at once melancholy, loving, & reverential.

Finally - 'Chickenscratch' has one of many memorable lyrics for me - "...can't blame the ink in the pen, if it was just whimsy when you marked it; who will tell when you're dead, it was just half-hearted?...", and in a way, captures what's so enjoyable about Crocodile - the lyrical depth & emotion revealed, either by a close listen, or even better, when it just reaches out & grabs you; not exactly unexpectedly, given such a voice as Ann's, but a long way from shoved in yer face - it's refreshing to have the choice, and all the more stimulating for it.

Don't Be a Fading Bruise

I Keep a Pilot Light


all from Crocodile - released April 28 on The Cougar Label
buy the mp3 album from Amazon or get the CD from Cougar or ideally - get along to the album launch in NYC on Saturday 25th : 10PM at Rockwood Music Hall, which sounds like a cool little venue to me, just the sorta place I like.

Crocodile tracklist:
Perfect Medicine
Don't Be a Fading Bruise
Nothing On Me
I Keep a Pilot Light
Nice & Quiet
Strong Arm
Shut Your Mouth
Down for the Winter

make friends with Ann Courtney & The Late Bloomers at their myspace or facebook pages - and check out their website too.

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