Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sod Art! Let's Prance

Some of my favourite pop bands have released new albums this year, like The Lucksmiths and Would-Be-Goods. The latter's Eventyr nearly breached my top 15 of this year's best albums. It's a brilliant album, as any new material from Jessica Griffin's pen is bound to be. It's also a big event as it's now been four years since The Morning After spoiled our collective ear. It would have come as a complete surprise as well, had it not been for the uncommonly tasty taster "Temporary Best Friend" that we heard on The Matinée Hit Parade, and now features on the album as its best song (and one of the best in the band's whole catalogue actually).

I've been keen to get Would-Be-Goods over to Sweden to play ever since putting on another band that Pete Momtchiloff plays in - Bid's mysterious Scarlet's Well outfit - last year. He seemed very enthusiastic, so it was saddening not being to able to help them out when they finally made it over to Sweden for the first time earlier this year. And I couldn't even go see them up in Stockholm!

I'll console myself by playing Eventyr on these dark winter evenings, letting myself be drawn into its beguiling atmosphere of swinging chandeliers and fading Edwardian tapestries. Eventyr is Danish for adventure, and I'm not surprised to read that it's the name of a H.C. Andersen anthology. Several of the songs have an almost Grimm-like air and it's easy to see similarities with Scarlet's Well, whom Momtchiloff is now contributing songs for as well as Would-Be-Goods. They cannot lose Griffin's unique mark however, and even though Momtchiloff wrote "Temporary Best Friend", some of my other favourites on the album like the opening classic "Sad Stories", "Melusine" which is playing in the sidebar here, and the lilting "Baby Romaine" are all Griffin's compositions. Bass player Andy Warren also joins the game with the closing track "A Professor Momtchiloff Mystery", which could've been The Monochrome Set's "Andy Leaps In". Warren once played in The Monochrome Set along with Lester Square, you see, which probably makes him Jessica's most enduring band partner since her backing band on both the él-released The Camera Loves Me and Mondo were the then-disbanded Monochrome Set. That leaves drummer Deborah Green as the only non-contributing member, but considering her past in Thee Headcoatees I think she could really add something to the band's appeal if she tried. Any excuse for another album! Or at least some more gigs. Perhaps they'll come to Auckland... and we'll all live happily ever after.

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