An interesting and largely appealing album.
David Quantick 2010
Independent music is a broad, and generally annoying, church. Part of its annoyingness stems from its love of tweeness, so much so that ‘twee’ is actually a horrific subgenre of indie. Twee started in Scotland with bands like The Pastels and Belle & Sebastian, but its roots lie in America, in the flowery-shirted, ice cream truck-loving hands of Jonathan Richman.
Richman’s love of both The Velvet Underground and of simple childish pleasures (his songs include the sublime That Summer Feeling and the ridiculous Abominable Snowman in the Market) kicked off a whole galaxy of jangly, coy bands. Mostly this is awful, but on occasion it can be great. Orange Juice and their singer Edwyn Collins have made music which is self-referential, full of self-pitying lyrics and ringing guitars, but has an acerbic edge and a quirky sense of observation. Hefner and their singer Darren Hayman have done the same, Hayman in particular broadening his range to write epic albums about small towns. And in Europe, Andre Herman Düne, a Franco-Swiss indie singer, has written songs called both 123 Apple Tree and Drug Dealer in the Park, and recorded under such silly names as Ben Dope and Klaus Bong.
Now, teaming up with the UK’s The Wave Pictures (another band in thrall to Jonathan Richman), he releases a collection that veers from the twee (the wimpy End of the World) to the excellent (All the Love That Was Left). Martians are mentioned, the word “nice” occurs, Stanley mentions his own ‘name’ and giggles and rock, frankly, doesn’t happen much. Yet somehow it all works and Brinks’ songs, combined with The Wave Pictures’ almost jazzy playing, make this an interesting and largely appealing album.