Friday, December 10, 2010

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2010: Number 24

George Lewis Jr makes records on his own pretty much just with guitar, Casiotone and a drum machine. He sounds like Murray Lightburn from the Dears had formed Summer Camp, and at a time of chillwave harking back to 80s synth pastorialism that never really existed outside David Sylvian and bits of Tears For Fears his more rugged approach fits in pretty snugly. All that stated at the off, if it's unsurprising, despite their wanton diversification, to pick up a record based on spareness and layers of keyboard and find it's on 4AD, there's something appealing and affecting extra here when Lewis hitches up the mike close up and spills his heart out about isolation, the losing of love and desire for more of that.

If there is plenty of 80s synth-led new wave around here, it's done with affection and sounds like an album created as a whole rather the usual first go with no back catalogue issue of throwing every effect he finds at a wall and seeing what sticks. Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor does his usual grand job on production of making the record sound like it's being in the room with a craftsman's touch, even with this limited decolourised VHS of a palette. As a result Lewis gets pushed up front, sometimes ultimately incomprehending, sometimes impassioned with guitar as much as voice. A chill wind blows through as Lewis aches, a tormented soul not for show but as knowing something wrong has gone on beyond sensible control. Too many people spent 2010 listening to the 80s and slavishly getting it wrong; how good to find someone (two people, in fact) making sounds reminiscent of that earlier time yet bringing something personal.


Castles In The Snow

The full list

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