Album no. 84/1001
This is a bit of a weird one. Folky, orchestral, a Bob Dylan-esque warble.
These guys were originally a 5 piece, but one of their members was drafted for military service, and the other joined a different band called Harper’s Bizarre (that’s not a typo) before they recorded this album.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: No. Where are they pulling these weirdo bands from?!
NK: Never heard of them, don’t recognise any of the tracks, I’m ready to rock.
CL: Hmmm. This first song sounds like a poor man’s Bob Dylan. That voice. It’s really putting me off. I definitely like the second song, ‘Only Dreaming Now’, but then it sort of goes downhill.
NK: Oh no. This is proper hippy music. Oh nooooooooo.
CL: OH wow, it picks up again with ‘Nine Pound Hammer’ – that’s a PRIMO tune. But really, everything after that is pretty ho-hum.
NK: I have a slightly different opinion: ‘Nine Pound Hammer’ is bad. Also, ‘Are You Happy?’ is bad. ‘Only Dreaming Now’ is bad. ‘Painter of Women’ and ‘The Keeper of Time’ are awful. ‘It Won’t Get Better’ is bad, ‘Magic Hollow’ is bad. ‘And I’ve Seen Her’ is bad but it’s also the shortest song on the album, so technically the least bad. ‘Triangle’ is bad. ‘The Wolf of the Velvet Fortune’ is bad, and given it’s the longest track on the album at 4.50, you’d think it would compete to be the worst song on the album. But they do a weirdo version of ‘Old Kentucky home’ at the end, and it is fucking unbearable. That’s the song Roger Stirling blacks up to sing in Mad Men for those playing along at home.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: It sort of reminds me of being in a forest. It’s a bit medieval I suppose. I don’t really like that.
NK: The nicest thing you can say about this album is that all but two of the songs are under three minutes. Be thankful for small mercies.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: I really like the music and the melodies on this record – like I think the instrumentation is some of the most interesting we’ve heard thus far – but the vocals kill it for me. Sorry Mr Sal Valentino, you just don’t do it for me.
NK: Maybe when the 1001 albums book was being put together one of the editors had been through a harrowing divorce. Lost the house, lost the kids, lost the dog. Bitterly depressed. Hurt. Confused. Upset. Angry. Angry at their ex, the way they’d changed, the way they wouldn’t see reason. Angry at themselves, the mistakes they made, the things they could have done differently, the tiny slips they made each day that led slowly but seemingly inevitably to the breakup of the relationship and the world as they knew it. Angry at the world, for the million little injustices and indignities that gradually wear away dignity and self-worth. Angry. You get to see the kids once a month, you don’t want to jeopardise that, so you can’t retaliate directly, can’t do anything that your ex might be able to use. So what do you do? You take it out on the world. This is a book that a lot of people will buy, a lot of people will read. People will seek out the albums listed here. They’ll read about them, and they’ll listen to them. There will be reviews, retrospective reviews, blog posts, podcasts, and you know what? Some of these people will listen to EVERY. ALBUM. ON. THE. LIST. This is an opportunity. An outlet for the anger, all the pain and rage and hate, all the pent-up emotion, finally let out.
I’ll make them listen to ‘Triangle’ by the Beau Brummels.
CL: … I guess this is plausible.
Will you be listening again?
CL: I’m a bit torn about this. There are some pretty good tracks on here, but I think the majority are just songs I’d never want to listen to again. So look, probably not the whole album.
NK: Nah mate.