Persona Non Grata (label)
15 January 2020 (released)
15 January 2020
Comprised of compatriots’ Alvaays’s string-King Brian Murphy and Jeremy Gaudet’s vocal-vexations and barbed know-it poeticism (choice samples include ‘nothing says home like a basket of folded white shirts’) this less than half an hour album is bright, breezy and full of brio.
(Re)imaginings: Brit-romantiques Felt fronted by alt-rock ‘n droller, Pavement’s head-slab Steven ‘Steve’ Malkmus (‘Murder in the cathedral’).
(R)evocations: absorb C86 jingle-jangle shimble-shambling akin to The Wedding Present’s choppy-kineticism and Orange Juice’s Caledonian-funk (‘Gimme more’)
(Re)invigorate: there are subtle shades of college-radio royalty Camper van Beethoven’s archly wry asides backed by tremendous tremolos and effervescent energies.
Like the aforementioned forebears, this is a literate and knowing nod to history’s fey and whey-faced pin-ups, albeit with both eyes on a sparkling present and future.
The perky, jerky and outright quirky ‘Leslie’ is riddled with mystique and intrigue, just who ‘is’ this enigma? Someone who ‘dropped out of college took to the streets for knowledge’ that’s who. The autodidact’s didact.
Gloriously delicate and intricate, ‘Salary Man’ is Johnny Marrish finger-picking good, a Rickenbacker roll-call of string-swing.
Smalltown claustrophobia permeates ‘Nothing changes’ as a humdrum existence of little to no escape is compounded by the line ‘everything is out of my price range’ – further evidence of being trapped within a repetitive prison of monetary and perception barriers.
The jaunty ‘Swimming Pool’ features the ghost of drowned, but, not forgotten Rolling Stone Brian Jones as his spirit litters the chorus, his ethereal presence a beacon in these times of perpetual bleak midwinters. Admittedly, a strange choice for inspiration considering Jones’s downward spiral and descent into drug-fuelled demise, but, as his name trills around to the sound of upbeat it’s hard not to crack a smile in the aftermath …
A superlative harking back to a pop-cultural past laced with loquacious lyricism.