It’s another Saturday morning, so time for another dose of jangle-pop. Last week it was Austin’s Literature. This week we go a few thousand miles to the upper right for the new single from Glasgow’s Strawberry Whiplash. It comes in the form of a 7-inch single for better aural absorption. The A-side Stop, Look and Listen is another slice of sugar coated jangle from the band, harvested from the same cane fields as early Primitives and Darling Buds records. The single serves as a preview of their upcoming album Hits In the Car and comes with two exclusive B-sides,the gentler In the Blink of an Eye and the chugging Luck Is The Residue Of Design, to further tempt you to part with your hard earned cash.
For some reason I had the idea that Wake the President had broken up. You don’t hear from a band for a couple years in these days of instant information and you assume the worst. Actually they kind of did disband sometime after releasing their first album You Can’t Change that Boy in 2009. They may have temporarily disbanded but when the president and vice president are twins you regroup and make a second record anyway, and that is what Erik and Bjorn Sandberg did. The brothers have just released their second album Zumutung! on their own label We Can Still Picnic.
Being a band from Glasgow, Scotland they innately know how to balance jangle, twee and bombast into a record. Since this is their second record they have settled down from the impulsive adolescence of the debut. Zumutung is also not so obvious in revealing its influences. Before you could tell they loved Orange Juice, now it’s not so obvious. The bouncy Elaine is the one song that could easily have fit on their debut, but overall the mood of the record is darker and introspective. They now have songs with the paisley jangle of the Close Lobsters in She Fell Into My Arms and In Youth There Is Pleasure. They also have a newfound side to them which is more intense that reminds me of the Delgados on songs like E.T and Sort of Blonde. Former Delgados drummer Paul Savage produced the record and it seems like he has brought his former band’s moodiness into the mix. It makes Zumutung! a more interesting and enduring record. It isn’t as immediate as the their debut, but it has a plan and a pace to it that gradually wins you over.
Watch: Wake the President – Elaine
Straight outta Edinburgh, Scottland come Edinburgh School for the Deaf. Their moody, fuzzed out maelstrom on the A-side to their virtual single is a sound not unfamiliar to their geography, and then the virtual B-side figuratively flips that sound on its ear getting introspective, delicate and quiet (also not unfamiliar to their geography). The only complaint I have about this record is that it ain’t a physical record. It’s part of Bubblegum Records For Singles Project which limits each single to 200 downloads. I’ll take a download but I’ll still pine for a 45 that I can plop on a turntable and crank up.
And the B-Side Orpheus Ascending:
Edinburgh School for the Deaf’s debut long player New Youth Bible is due 13th June. In the meantime head over to Bubblegum Records to buy a download of this virtual single.
My big complaint about bubblegum as a kid was that Bubble Yum, Hubba Bubba and Bubblelicious all tasted great at first but they never had any staying power. After five minutes in your mouth all the sugary sweetness was gone and rubber bands had taken its place. Scottland’s Bubblegum Lemonade have no such problem on their second album intuitively called Sophomore Release. Somehow they’ve come up with a recipe where the sugary sweetness that initially hits your pallet lasts and lasts.
Called modern pop revivalists, Bubblegum Lemonade revive Biff Bang Pow, Teenage Fanclub, touches of Darklands era Mary Chain, and even humorously reference Aztec Camera in the song We Could Send Emails. The single Caroline’s Radio made my top 40 of the year and it shows up as track one to pull you into the album, and then one man band Laz McClusky goes onto beguile your ears for eleven more songs with generous use of his 12 string Rickenbacker that rings, buzzes and jangles through these 12 songs. He knows about pacing and mixing things up though, varying the instrumentation with glockenspiel, acoustic guitar, wood blocks and harmonies. As I’ve listened to this quite a lot over the last couple weeks, the subtleties have slowly made themselves apparent like the beautiful watery Moose-like guitars on Autumn Sky and the way You Only Leave Twice sneaks itself into your head with it’s melody and flamenco guitar solo. Bubblegum Lemonade’s Sophomore Release has long lasting flavor, so much that I bet if I stick it on my bedpost it won’t lose it’s flavor overnight.