Sunday, 9 September 2012

Great Albums 39: Autumn Might Have Hope (Small Town Boredom, 2008)

OK, so this isn't actually an album I've been listening to for years, with decades of pleasure behind it.  Sue me.

I've been listening to it compulsively all weekend, however, ever since I got a copy of the Hibernate Records / Wasistdas' Tom Carter fundraiser disc in the post.  To be precise, the fundraiser cdr (well worth a purchase, btw) has a track by Caught in the Wake Forever on it, so Fraser McGowan's curent incarnation, rather than this earlier, two man recording.  Still, it's good, this is good, it's all good.

Specific reasons it's good, I hear you ask?  Easiest way to describe it is to name some people it reminded me of; people you'll have heard of, I mean.  So bits of it sound like JJ Cale, bits of it sound like a less commercial King Creosote, bits of it sound like the first Malcolm Middleton LP, bits even remind me of Jandek (primarily the bits when McGowan's mouth is really close to the mic).  And there are bits which remind me of nothing at all, unique bits where the simple guitar lines, found sounds, snatches of dialogue and occasional drum fills come together with the whispered vocals to create something unexpectedly lovely, even if the loveliness is always tinged by a massive layer of anxiety, regret and genuine sadness.

Because this this is definitely music for dark, rainy days; miserable, gloom enshrouded tunes where, at times, it feels as though even the act of singing is too much effort.  You're not going to dance to this (well not in a good way) but that's no bad thing.  Sometimes what you want is something quiet and thoughtful, something which recognises that desperation is as valid a reaction to the world around you as big grins and high fives.

And maybe, just maybe, now and again there's a wee chink of light in the darkness...

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