Archive for February, 2020


talkincode-featured01Managed to get the latest Talk in Code release some room in NYC’s prestigious Big Takeover magazine. Read the whole review at the link below.

“Not only has Talk in Code always had a way with a great pop tune they have also always been smart enough to move with the times. I remember watching them in their earliest incarnation where they could easily have been found on a bill opening for the likes of Coldplay or Travis, which was exactly right for those times. Talk Like That is exactly right for these times. It’s still pop…”

Read the full review HERE

imageIt seems to me that there are two sorts of people in this here parish. There are those who spend their time on-line moaning that, musically speaking at least, nothing ever happens in Swindon. And there are those who don’t have the time for all of that nonsense as they are out supporting all the fantastic, musically speaking at least, things happening in Swindon.

I will make a prediction. Fassine heading back into town for a double header at Level 3 with local prog infused, alt-rockers Circu5 will be one of the defining gigs of the year. It may be a bit early to start with such hyperbole, but unless Hope Sandoval finally gives in to my almost daily requests to play a solo show in my front room, I can’t imagine there will be much to beat such a line up. Not for me anyway.

It’s safe to say that my love of Fassine’s music has lasted longer than most of my relationships but that’s music for you. I think the key is to love it from afar, keep the mystery alive, enjoy it for what it is. I remember hearing Sunshine for the first time, it seemed like a cheeky wink across a crowded room, and in the five years since, that has how things have remained. I don’t need to know too much about the people behind the sound, that would spoil the allure and despite seeing them trying to articulate their admiration for XTC as a set of talking heads in the documentary This Is Pop and that time the small one from the band with the penchant for military style caps tried to get me to dance at a TC&I gig, that’s the way things have remained.

I was lucky enough to see Fassine at Level 3, a gig which has since become a bit of a Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall moment, as I have personally met at least 400 of the 98 who attended that night. And that’s how I know how great this gig is going to be, made even more of a draw by the fact that they share the stage with Circu5. Any one who saw the TC&I shows will recognise a couple of the faces in this popular beat combo, but don’t expect there to be too much of musical similarity. This isn’t pop, this is rock. Circu5 began life as a labour of love for Steve Tilling, a set of ideas looking for a musical outlet, then a bunch of songs in search of an album to call home, an album in search of a live band, and finally a live band in search of a stage.

Thankfully, no one from Circu5 has ever tried to make me dance but that is not to say that you shouldn’t when they bring their weighty yet intelligent rock to town. They seem to be picking up favourable coverage in the printed prog world but do not expect people dressed as wizards singing songs about Charlemagne over 13 minute keyboard solos. This is prog for the 21st century, if prog it even is and I for one am doubtful and even with Steve’s often strange sartorial choices you can banish all worries of being subjected to any unpleasant Rick Wakeman-esque moments.

The two bands make for oddly perfect musical bedfellows. One a drifting blend of ambience and alternative dance beats, the other a heady mix of intelligent narratives and rock and roll swagger, opposites which attract, ones yin to the others yang…and a third analogy which I can’t think of at the moment.

Nothing ever happens Swindon! Wanna bet?

https://www.facebook.com/events/2417463195250805/

a1398383177_16Sometimes an artist’s vibe, their defining quality, their unique selling point, is less about the face value sound of their music but what is going on below the surface of the sonics. Paul Lappin seems to support this theory of mine. If previous single Life Was Good motored along on an ever building, energetic indie groove, this time out things take a more considered, more understated route. And whilst it is easy to use such catch-all terms as pop or indie to describe what is going on here, what actually connects these two songs has more to do with their less obvious, less tangible qualities.

Somewhere between the clever production, which allows the myriad textures of the musical layers to exist in their own space and complement each other, and the positivity inherent in the writing, you find the real heart of what is going on here. If Life Was Good described a passing of the baton between perhaps father and son, a plea to get out there and really explore life and the world around you, After The Rain is a more personal reminder that the day is there to be filled with wondrous things, no matter how small.

And it is this spirit which shines through Paul Lappin’s music, a love of life, a need to see what is over the horizon or just savour the small things and encourage others to do the same. Musically it bridges a gap between the sweeter sounds of the pre-Britpop era and today’s indie creations. After the Rain chimes and charms in equal measure, the song sits on a lush network of instruments which are woven together to create a fantastic platform for the vocals to dance on and which are given freedom to throw in additional motifs and subtle inclusions, concise musical breaks and clever, one-time-only musical flashes of inspiration.

Not all music has to break boundaries or fuse together genres like mad sonic scientists feverishly working away in midnight laboratories. Sometimes it is all about taking familiar sounds, tried and tested ways of making music and using those building blocks to build something which just gets on with the task at hand. The task being as simple as making cool, charming, addictive and gorgeous music. This is certainly one of those times and it is fair to say that the task has been performed to perfection.

 

84941272_2854537271261086_2376828974551531520_nI like to make little stands against automation and the erosion of once simple concepts by unnecessary marketing, the slow Americanisation of once simple things and the perpetual desire by companies to make things cooler. I know things are all headed a certain way but I don’t use automated check-outs as a sort of stand against job losses to automation…it aint the people with funny coloured skin that will take your jobs it’ll be those pesky robots. I also tend not to use the fancy names that a simple thing like a cup of coffee has now, especially as I drink it straight up and black. Cup – beans – hot water! Simple. The stupidity of it hit home when I found myself not in my usual cool, liberal, hippieish, arty, musicy cafe, where they indulge my whims, but in one of those production line, chain coffee shops that have these days…the ones which serve children sized drinks and don’t pay any tax.

“Just a black coffee please.”

“Would that be an Americano?”

“If that equates to a straight-forward black coffee?”

“Yes, it does.”

“I’ll have one of those then, thank you.”

“One Americano. Do you want room for milk in it?”

“@&*!!£$@”

(Thanks to Only Connect I now know that the above sentence is known as a grawlix..well, it would be if it were in a cartoon speech bubble.

84465521_10158499117658690_2782590606772273152_n.jpg