Wake the President's first album has all the trappings of a classic pop album. It's got the perfect opener in "Something to Turn Up", whose stripped-down sincerity makes you focus on the lyric. Which is among the best to originate from Erik's H6 pencil. I absolutely adore how the most feathery of melodies can carry lines such as "with conscious choice you charged my heart with an unfathomable bill - so cut me right up
into a thousand little pieces, it will tell you how many days we've spent apart". That blends seamlessly into the agitated "Professor" which immediately lets you experience the band at a head-on charge. Guitars into overdrive and cymbals crashing, but never powerful, never stealing the scene. The bass works incessantly in the background, gracefully tip-toeing through the chorus. A new, and much improved version of "Mail, Alice" follows, one of the sides off of their first single. But the undisputed stand-out track on this album (all classic albums need one, don't you know) is "Miss Tierney" - the song they've always threatened to make but a threat they've not made good on until this treat. It's a perfect pop song, about love of course, that wears its influences so well they're unrecognisable until the concluding floor tom echoes out like the essence of Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty distilled down to one beat. Naturally, it has also been picked for a single release, to follow the album out in March by another month. I couldn't find a decent-sized picture of the album cover, so pictured above is the forthcoming single which is shared by Je Suis Animal. "Miss Tierney" is the centrepiece of the album, but I fear the fact that neither this nor Je Suis Animal's "Fortune Map" (from Self-Taught Magic From a Book) is exclusive will cripple the sales of this fime item.
At ten tracks, You Can't Change That Boy arguably contains one single too many and leaves us with six completely new delights. Both "Remember Fun?" and the titletrack are old singles, but those of you who haven't heard them should eagerly devour them - like vintage bottles of wine saved for right moment. The a-side (I hope this will be available on vinyl!) ends with the quiet "Wake" which introduces piano and castanets to what wouldn't have been a totally inappropriate wake for Grant McLennan. The biggest joy on the b-side for me, if 'joy' hadn't been hopelessly out of place in this context, is "The Security Place". Another new song for me, and another piece of evidence in the ongoing case for Wake the President's constant self-improvement. With a more sprightly production there are no bounds to where the next record might take them. But the refined, studio incarnation of Wake the President isn't so bad either, as the heart-breaking closing track "A & E" proves. Too tender to survive the crudity of the live environment (or perhaps merely the clientele of Glasgow's gig venues), they never play it live. So if lines like "our courtship seems so long ago, your middle name should be indelible" and "too warm for friendship, too pure for love" is the subscription you need, as your doctor, I recommend you to buy You Can't Change That Boy as soon as it's available from your local vendor.
Some of the songs referenced in this post, are playing over here.