Monday, December 15, 2008

Spencer McGarry Season

Spencer McGarry Season’s fine debut CD, Episode 1, kicks off with a couple of tone-setting tracks: Oh Leonard and Tell Me What’s Shaking (Except this Building). That tone being a pared-down, crisp, beat sound that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Scene Club circa 1965.

The mod momentum is continued through The Heat Was Hot (a number that helps fill the ‘good songs about wrestling’ void); and, To the Liars Take Me, which goes straight into my anthology of decent tunes about magazines that contain jaunty whistling.

Leader of the Chain Gang is an enjoyable sing-a-long that takes the traditional theme of work and applies to it the anxieties of modern office life. One of this CD’s many highlights. A Title Sparks Would Have Used, lyrically at least, goes all postmodern and seems to be about the creative process. It contains the memorable line: “fictional rain beats down about Swansea town”.

Things take a more metaphysical turn with The Reason Not the Meaning and Futsure which deal with ideas of ontology and predestination. I shit you not.

Recent single A Paler Shade of Wit is an absolute belter and more infectious than a severe dose of chicken pox. The same can be said for the XTC-esque The Un-Filmable Life and Life of Terry Gilliam. An homage to the left-field film director, which references several of his movies.

The CD ends strongly in upbeat toe-tapping mode. When Stupids Come to Town exudes the kind of hard-edged white boy funk that the Gang of Four would have been proud of. Whilst final track, We’re Going to Dance the Night Away, does exactly what it says on the tin.

Mentioned in despatches are Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Avvon Chambers who provide a pulsating rhythm section that underpins McGarry’s sharp, inventive guitar work and idiosyncratic vocals. You can get hold of Episode 1 from Businessman Records or Spillers Records right now, or wait until after Xmas when it will arrive, as if by magic, in your local chain record store.

Highly recommended.