Archive for August 21st, 2006

August 21, 2006

PETER BJORN & JOHN (WITH VICTORIA BERGSMAN) – Young Folks (CD & 12″ Singles)

Young Folks CoverWichita WEBB107SCD / WEBB107T: 7th August 2006
1. Young Folks (Original / Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Re-Animation / Thomas Andersson Remake / Team Skidoo Remix / Punks Jump Up Special Disco Mix)
“If you knew my story word for word, had all of my history, would you go along with someone like me”
2. Ancient Curse
“You turn me on, but the problems turn me off”
3. All Those Expectations (Weak Mix)
“All those expectations, you’re making me weak”

‘Young Folks’ is taken from Peter Bjorn & John’s 3rd album ‘Writer’s Block’ (Notice the lack of a comma after ‘Peter’, shabby grammar, great music). The band is from Sweden and is made up of Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Eriksson.

‘Young Folks’ has the kind of tune that’ll bury itself deep into your brain and never come out again. I guarantee after one listen you’ll be walking around whistling it, but you won’t be able to stop at one listen. It’s got angelic guest vocals by Victoria Bergsman from The Concretes and she sings a duet with Peter Morén that casts them as a boy and girl meeting for the first time. When the chorus comes in there is a rush of mad Bongo playing that is as unexpected as it is refreshing. So take the Bongos, the vocals, the whistling and the funky Bass and you’ve got one of the most distinctive and catchy singles for a long, long time.

The CD is backed by two songs including non-LP track ‘Ancient Curse’ which sounds like Radiohead on an off day. ‘All Those Expectations (Weak Mix)’ is a wonky, distorted recording that is more tedious than words can express. The 12″ edition of the single comprises four Remixes of ‘Young Folks’ that all way in around the six-minute mark. The ‘Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Re-Animation’ builds on the Bongos by bringing in a George Harrison style eastern vibe. The ‘Thomas Andersson Remake’ is almost an instrumental and only features the line “People tend to disappear”. The ‘Team Skidoo Remix’ adds a Pet Shop Boys like Synth line and turns the song into a partly successful dance floor thumper. The ‘Punks Jump Up Special Disco Mix’ is the only one that really succeeds by not drifting to far from the fantastic sound of the original. The Bongos are used more, the Bass is funkier and most of the vocals are retained.

Click here to buy Peter Bjorn & John’s new album from HMV for only £8.99.

Click here to watch the video for ‘Young Folks’ on YouTube.

Peter Bjorn & John Website / Peter Bjorn & John MySpace Page
The Concretes Website / The Concretes MySpace Page

August 21, 2006

DUKE SPECIAL – Portrait (10″ EP)

Portrait CoverV2 VVR5042610: 7th August 2006
1. Portrait
“Clumsy as a ragtime clown, or some dancing Frankenstein, well darling, your broken art was never on my mind”
2. Feet In The Sky
“And where you been kid, you say you’re over six feet tall, but that didn’t stop you going up the wall”
3. Maps (Live At The Empire Music Hall, Belfast)
“Wait… they don’t love you like I love you”
4. Low (Live At The Empire Music Hall, Belfast)
“Mercy you, and mercy me, you’re still in love, in spite of me”

This is my first encounter with Belfast’s Duke Special (aka Peter Wilson), but he’s already released a number of albums, EPs and singles (You can buy them from his site). The most obvious comparison is Rufus Wainwright, musically anyway. Rufus’ image fits his music, but Duke’s is a cross between Mick Hucknall and Robert Smith. But hey, here’s to confounding expectations.

The first side of ‘Portrait’ is recorded at 78rpm, which at first seems an odd choice. But it soon becomes clear that playing the song on an old Gramophone would be the most appropriate way to hear it. This is because the music sounds antiquated and therefore completely fresh to my ears. However it still sounds bloody good when I play it on my computer. Duke’s vocal delivery is ever so slightly camp (Can you be “Ever so slightly” camp, that’s a contradiction in terms isn’t it?) and it’s backed by instruments like the Clarinet that we hear too in-frequently in everyday pop.

‘Feet In The Sky’ is written by regular collaborator Paul Wilkinson. It’s like one of those great early Rufus Wainwright singles like ‘April Fools’ or ‘California’. Next up is a live cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ classic single ‘Maps’. There’s something wonderful about how the calls of “Wait” sound in Duke’s Belfast accent. Lastly, is another Duke Special original called ‘Low’. It’s a beautiful Piano ballad that documents Duke’s lows but reaches such great heights too. If you’ve been waiting for a new Antony & The Johnson’s record then this B-side is for you.

If you want another great cover of ‘Maps’ visit the site of London band ‘Paris Motel’ to buy their demo CD.

Duke Special Website / Duke Special MySpace Page
Paris Motel Website / Paris Motel MySpace Page