Advance Album Review :: Timothy J Simpson

‘Our Glorious Hero Battles The Man’, Nottingham-based Timothy J Simpson’s debut record, exudes summer melodies and autumnal charm, all covered over with a melancholic view of the past: Britain’s answer to Damien Jurado?

T J Simpson

T J Simpson

It was with initial trepidation that I first gave this record a spin; I’m so rooted in my acoustic music that anything new sent me has to be of an incredible caliber to get through into the regular play-list. That said, Timothy J Simpson’s method of breaking me down was a slow one; but he managed, where many, many others have failed.

On first listen, this record doesn’t bowl you over, but given time it most certainly will. The opening track ‘Wolves‘ makes you agog for the rest, but it’s sound is apart from the rest of the album and suitably the opener. Simpson got to the finals of the 2008 songwriting competition for second track ‘Keytones‘, a great achievement and well deserved.

You’re a Part of Me starts as a forgotten Idlewild track and mellows into Simpson’s simple, home-spun style. For me, this is a stand-out track of the album: an easy-listenable, sorrowful track of warm lyrics, suitable for those at the beach, perhaps.

Carrying on in the same fashion as mentioned, the record wraps up with notably different, rock-n-roll-esque Hooray with Simpson sounding like Two Gallants with Bob Seger . It’s an apt and ideal place for it, waking you up from the comfortable, duvet-wrapped snooze the preceding tracks placed you in. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it’s a favorite of Simpson’s to play live.

As I said at the start, this record isn’t one you’ll be hugely impressed with initially. That’s actually a compliment though, as the pleasure to be found in ‘Our Glorious Hero Battles the Man’ is deeper and it’s charm is in it’s catchy lyrics, accessible melodies and simple, rustic sound.

You’re A Part of Me

Our Glorious Hero Battles The Man can be purchased from Amazon from 02/11/09

Timothy J Simpson

Advance CD Album Review :: Sukilove – Static Moves

sukiloveAfter learning that frontman Pascal Deweze of Belgian band Sukilove had described this record as “homo erotic rock without the glitter”, it was obvious that this album wasn’t going to be run of the mill to say the least. With a reputation as one of Belgium’s most interesting and daring bands, ‘Static Moves’ really does show that they are forever trying to push boundaries and defy genre labelling with every effort.

Opening track ‘New Beginning’ eases you in relatively well, although an odd choice to begin the album with, and only subtly foreshadows the outright weirdness that the rest of the songs are about to throw at you. What it does share is the raw atmosphere that this entire record gives off. Being the fourth album for the band, it is however only the first to be recorded at Deweze’s home studio – and yet with no strict schedule, Sukilove still recorded the entire album live. This is definitely reflected in ‘4am’, brilliantly atmospheric with tinkering electronica, ‘Greenwood’-esque guitar and Deweze’s vocal delivery adopting a Thom Yorke slur, it’s difficult to believe this isn’t a Radiohead track.

‘Rebel’ is literally what is done in this track, starting with gentle chords, it then bursts into a fast paced, heavy riff that franticly works round the delivery of an equally unsteady vocal melody. Clocking in at just shy of three minutes, this song knows it’s place, and is a highlight of the album as a short chunk of satisfying, aural angst. After enduring the oddly titled ‘Teeth Fitness’, which tops two minutes of eerie water noise, comes the single ‘Choose Your Gods’. . This is arguably the most contemporary effort on ‘Static Moves’, given the choice to release it in some hope of commercial recognition. The almost tribal main riff and jagged guitar solo still spark that unsettling feeling in the listeners stomach, however it compliments the accessible backing well and works on a level that you won’t find elsewhere.

As far as bizarre goes, ‘Memory As A Skull’ pulls out all the stops. Beginning with whispering of the lyrics panned to the far left and right of the mix, this is something you wouldn’t want to listen to through earphones in the dark. The dissonance of the chords as well as a slightly psychotic sounding refrain of the word “memory” render this song as far away from easy listening as possible, and is just outright odd. This said, it is so interesting that it does hold attention, particularly the er… “throat clearing” vocal solo.

‘Fear’ is definitely a highlight of the album.  The drum pattern and grinding bass line sound fantastic, as well as haunting guitar riffs that are strangely likened to a gothic Arctic Monkeys sound.  As the track builds up, Deweze’s confidence in his vocals follows suit, and he leaves behind the monotonous slurs for a ferocious rasp that culminates in the screaming of “we’re all just meat; waiting to die”. This is the kind of thing that Sukilove need to make more of, a whole album of this would really be something to look forward to.

Sometimes ‘Static Moves’ does sound like it’s obscure just for the sake of being obscure, and it takes a lot of patience to eventually ‘get’ – easy listening this is not. Rest assured, there are some great moments here, the fury of ‘Fear’ and the infectious ‘Choose Your Gods’ are definitely worth more than just a listen. Let’s hope that the future of this band holds such similarities. – Matt Fearon

Sukilove – Static Moves
Released on CD, download & limited edition clear vinyl on 2nd November 2009.
Sukilove Website