Initial thoughts on "From the Double Gone Chapel"

Just walked to work listening to a few tracks of the new Two Lone Swordsmen album, “From the Double Gone Chapel”. Needless to say, it sounds pretty cool.

The big thing is that they’re playing instruments on this one – ‘eschewing hi-tech’ blah de blah. Real drums, real bass, real geetar and, of course, analog synths. Suffice to say, they know what they’re doing – Weatherall is Jehovah’s gift to music selection, and he put out that “Nine O’Clock Drop” comp way back, so he’s well ahead of the retro game.

Don’t be fooled by references to this album as ‘postpunk’ – from what I’ve heard so far it is pretty standard, rhythm-wise, with none of the “angular riffs” and “sideways funk” you’d expect from anyone imitating Gang of Four, Wire, Slits etc. [NB quote marks here are meant to denote journalistic cliche – not cynicism about the genre – i love postpunk as much as any redblooded overeducated white guy should…]

Anyway, there’s some crackers on the album – “Lurch” and “Formica Fuego” stood out first time round (actually I haven’t got right through the album yet – it’s only a 20 minute walk to work). I couldn’t help feeling that the album was lacking a certain spark, though – the playing/production doesn’t quite jump out and grab one by the balls like it should. (Without wanting to sound like a complete tosser, I woudl venture to say that it doesn’t sound sufficiently ‘punchy’).

As ever, they do a great line in moody, affecting, slightly dozy instrumentals (e.g. “Driving with my gears in reverse”, or “Not the worst I’ve ever looked, just the most I’ve ever cared” off Tiny Reminders, or lots of the old Sabres of Paradise stuff), but I reckon it’s the electro that works best -like “Sick when we kiss”.

At the end of the day, TLS are electronic musicians and relative newcomers to making a band dynamic really work. Nevertheless, they’ve definitely got more clues on what constitutes tasteful guitar music than Neptunes…

If TLS could get Steve Albini to produce their next record, then things would really start to get interesting.

Meanwhile, the new Soulwax track “This is the excuse” sounds pretty epic (which is good and bad). Great go-go vocal refrain though – “This is the excuse that we’re making / Is it good enough for what you’re paying”. Is it just me or is everything “about” US foreign policy at the moment?


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