Daily Archives: June 30, 2010

356. The Guild League – “Private Transport”

It’s been mighty cold and pretty damp in Melbourne town over the past week. At such times, my thoughts turn to numerous grey days I have spent under London skies on my various stays there.

This album is a perfect soundtrack to such feelings.

The Guild League is the vehicle Lucksmiths lead-singer Tali White established to showcase his song-writing and to explore more complex, layered music.

He’d been doing a lot of travelling from a London base during that time. The songs herein capture the joy of exploring new surrounds, and the sadness of love long- distance.

The music swings between upbeat, at times, downright funky (Jet Set Go! and Siamese Couplets) numbers, to wonderfully melancholy string compositions.

Tali has always had a silky sweet voice, but here we also get to see his skill at wordplay and imagery (Cosmetropolis is a treat). He hooks up with a whole gang of collaborators who construct some mesmerising soundscapes and jaunty numbers. The cello, handclaps and layered vocals on Faraway Place are truly ambitious.

This album is not perfect. Its pacing is a little awkward and a couple of tunes are regular ‘skips’, but every backpacker should have it loaded into their iPod.

The band didn’t deign to make any videos, so I did (!):

File under: Moving


355. Guided By Voices – “Under the Bushes Under the Stars”

Regular readers of this blog (and also the more irregular/infrequent of you) may have already picked up that I really don’t know that much about music-making.

I only write as an avid and attentive listener. As such, any advice or opinion I give regarding what a band should be doing better should clearly be seen as speculative and ill-informed at best.

I say all this because yesterday I was pretty convinced that GBV were hampered by the low and borderline obstructive production quality on the album in question.

Well, on this one they got all disciplined and almost slick. The production values hit passable levels, and thus we are left to scrutinise the band in a less distracted way.

Unfortunately, they seem to have traded off some spontaneity and creativity along the way. Among the 24 tracks (yeah, they’re still prolific) there aren’t as many pearls (unpolished or otherwise). The borderline Beatlesque qualities of the previous release are lost as the band comes across as some very, very reserved REMBuffalo Tom-Flying Nun hybrid, but without a big, ear-catching track to keep me coming back.

File under: Sounds like bad bush to me…