Despite five years away they’ve made no concessions to sonic fashion.
Lou Thomas 2009-09-11
In the Music is perhaps the most settled album of the year. It has been made by a band so free of anxiety they haven’t released a record since 2004’s Weightlifting.
This is not because they’re lazy or fastidious, just instinctive and unhurried.
But although they only sporadically release records, Trashcan Sinatras have long made tender, affecting music which impresses more with repeated listens. Hayfever, from 1993, and a 1996 cover of To Sir With Love, for example, highlight the Scottish band’s knack for breezy orchestral pop and weary grandeur, while 2004’s All The Dark Horses could appear in a thesaurus by the entry for ‘winsome’.
This fifth LP, then, is comforting both for listeners and crooner Francis Reader and his four band mates. Oranges and Apples may be a tribute to Syd Barret but its easy, calm afternoon warmth has more in common with Tulsa Sound legend JJ Cale, stretching out well-worn licks over its seven minute duration.
Easy on the Eye, meanwhile, is easy on the ear. Subtle vocal harmonies and a touch of Like a Rolling Stone organ momentum make for a mellifluous pairing and the overall sound is redolent of Travis’ Driftwood. It’s satisfying, like getting some needed sleep after a bad day and a long bath.
When the title track marries poet Ali Smith’s words with a soulful clang of guitar and Carly Simon contributes plaintive backing vocals on Should I Pray?, it again becomes clear Trashcan Sinatras are fine judges of what their songs require.
In five years the musical landscape has changed beyond recognition, but these men from the small town of Irvine haven’t made any concessions to sonic fashion. The pace, tone and volume rarely fluctuates during In the Music, but its makers shouldn’t and probably won’t care. These ten songs don’t need to show off to be heard, and will probably be loved by many.