Friday, December 25, 2009

Danger Makes Your Suffering Sublime

I thought I'd use some of my Christmas free time to write a little about great records that came out this year but I have failed to mention so far. One is the debut album by Cheap Red, who are essentially Boyracer + Kanda (in other words Stewart, Jen, Akina and Arland). On the 555 Records mailing list, Stewart exclaimed in surprise that they had only sold 60 copies of this double-disc a few months after its release. Now, surely Boyracer have more than 60 fans worldwide (the 100 copies of their last album sold out quite fast, and I still haven't heard it!), but I don't think one can expect much as an independent pop label today. Also, of course, not everyone know about Cheap Red yet, which is why I'm writing this. Kanda themselves, are an even more criminally under-written pop group. They have recorded two albums of electronic bedroom pop, It's a Good Name For You and All the Good Meetings Are Taken. Together, these guys recorded the songs that make up Cheap Red over the course of three days. It's definitely a record that captures a certain spontaneity. The instant pop genius of "Let's Get Tammy Wynette", a tale of celebrity abduction and abuse, sounds like it was written the same morning. Ironically, this fuzzed-out Boyracer style punker is my favourite on the record. But there are also a few softer acoustic numbers, much like you would find among Jen's solo work. The violin-accompanied "Red Shoulders" is the best. "The Mitten" and "3 Day Drunk" are fantastic handclap pop, the latter with some classy organ added. Two songs about horses, of which the toungue-in-cheek twee of "Horses" ("don't dream without ponies") features the best moment of the record, when Jen misses the last exclamation of "horses!" right at the end. The second disc of remixes doesn't add much, unless that kind of thing floats your boat of course. I read that Cheap Red played the SF Popfest this year, something which I haven't seen any reports of or footage from either. Hope someone gets round to it soon!

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