Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion

Grumbling-Fur-The-Ballad-of-Roy-BattyWith everyone else frolicking around at Green Man, End of the Road or other such sunny paradises, I’m currently left at home, working the days and feeling a little sorry for myself of an evening. No worries, I tell myself, I do still have September’s Psychfest to look forward to and am increasingly turning to the organisers to choose my next favourite bands…

Grumbling Fur

These are an interesting pair, featuring on the Saturday in Liverpool and generally getting a good deal of coverage in all the interesting places of the net. Only looked them up because of Psychfest but when I did I realised I’d sort of been there all along, buying one half of the Fur (?), Alexander Tucker’s records for a few years now. I had no idea that his unconventional brilliance was one of those behind Grumbling Fur (probably better…), but to be honest I really don’t think there’s any way I’d have spotted a link even if I’d been paying attention – there’s not a lot of Portal or Old Fog in either of these new releases with Daniel O’Sullivan.

I bought Glynnaestra a month or so ago from Fopp in Bristol, and listened to it pretty exclusively for the next few weeks until, lo and behold, Preternaturals came out… Consequently, the two records are pretty much intertwined in my head, with no space between them at all. I quite like that really – they almost seem like one big (quirky) double album.

As I said, there’s been a lot written about them recently, most of it trying very hard to cultivate some sort of neo-psychedelia element to their sound and to be fair, Tucker and O’Sullivan’s Albarn-esque confessions of Misadventures with Mescaline have pretty much fed into this.

But I can’t see it to be honest, far too much like a lo-fi dance record to go that way for me, an idea that usually turns me off to a record pretty darn quickly. Occasionally, though, a record is strong enough that even if the cut of its trousers is all wrong, the crown jewels still come through (that’s an analogy I’m going to regret when I read this back…). I’m generally pretty quick to dismiss anything that has a few too many electronics in it (and conversely, far too ready to shell out on any group of long hairs that brandish guitars), but this all works.

Both records (as I said, currently inseparable in my head), are choc-full of studio fumblings, “found sounds” and dubby playfulness. But what stands out most for me are the soft, measured vocals of both men that emerge from time to time from the spacey confusion around them. The obvious but still stand-out track is The Ballad of Roy Batty, with its Tears in the Rain monologue which even though I have no affinity at all with Blade Runner, I still find intensely and inexplicably moving:



Really looking forward to seeing this in September…