Tuesday, 10 September 2013

reviews: Delorean, The Proper Ornaments, Cloud Control

                                                   Delorean – Apar

Delorean - Apar (****)

For a band named after a time machine, Delorean could do with working on their timing. Apar arrives at the tail end of a summer it could, in another universe, have sound-tracked from the start, with its dazzling production and dreamy demeanour tailor-made for dawn after parties.

With fewer vocal samples and a greater emphasis on lyric-led songwriting than on last album Subiza, Apar moves the Basque-born, Barcelona-based quartet incrementally away from the dancefloor whilst retaining that intangible ‘eyes close/arms in the air’ hedonistic feel.

It takes their style to a stable already occupied by Passion Pit, recent M83 and Chairlift, so it’s fitting to hear the latter’s Caroline Polachek on highlight Unhold – a glittery whirligig that pivots around her warped vocal. Elsewhere, the closing Still You is their most overt cap-doff in New Order’s direction, and with a beating heart beneath the flash and flair, Delorean’s future looks bright indeed.

Out now

                                                   The Proper Ornaments – Waiting for the Summer

The Proper Ornaments - The Proper Ornaments (***)

As Waiting for the Summer reaches its understated conclusion, London duo The Proper Ornaments offer lyrical sentiments that could double as a serving suggestion. Over 80-seconds of mellow acoustic guitar, sighs implore “there’s no point in being sad/ why don’t you take a break?” – a placid plea that nicely pinpoints the effect of time in the record’s balmy company.

James Hoare and Max Claps have an expert grasp of mood and melody and – like Hoare’s other band Veronica Falls – they aim their talents towards simple but effective guitar pop, with the likes of Love, Velvet Underground and, from further along the timeline, The Go-Betweens and Yo La Tengo all recalled at various points. But while its delicacy is a big part of its halcyon charm, Waiting for the Summer’s slightness also has its downsides; with its ten tracks disappearing in just 23 breezy minutes, the buzz fades all too fast.

Out now

                                                  Cloud Control – Dream Cave

Cloud Control - Dream Cave (***)

Cloud Control evidently have an eccentric streak. In terms of production, Dream Cave is notable for being part-recorded in an actual cave, while all across their second full-length lie traces of a desire to offer something unusual and exciting: the twisted repetitions of testy opener Scream Rave, for example, or the oddball chorus of Moonrabbit ( “I’m not crazy/ Moonrabbit/ You’re the one that’s crazy”).

Yet brush off its psychedelic dusting and Dream Cave’s conventionality becomes clear (a not unpleasant trait, it should be added). Plenty here works very nicely indeed: The Smoke, The Feeling spins gold from influence-du-jour Fleetwood Mac; lead single Dojo Rising possesses a demure pop appeal; while the title track’s doo-wop sway is easy to fall for. But sullying matters are tracks that outstay their welcome or that seem to lack purpose altogether (in particular the dirge-like Tombstone), holding Dream Cave back from inspiring true reverie.

Out 16th September

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