Another good collection – I enjoyed listening to these.
Tim and Julie - Used to Be a Sporting Hero
Tim and Julie have conjured up an excellent new wave anthem here with lots to admire.
They are fine storytellers, and another strength of their work is the clever use of outside sounds and noises, giving the songs added spice. I’m thinking of previous songs employing an alarm clock, the start of a horse race etc, and here it’s the voiceovers referring to disgraced sports stars. With a two or three listens and a bit of internet research I think I worked out which three are involved, and it’s these things that make listening to Tim and Julie’s stuff such fun – it feels like trying to solve a puzzle. It’s rarely possible with one listen, though.
Tim’s guitar work is impressive, and I really like spikey guitar solo and the way it combines with the rhythm guitar. The singing is good – Tim should have more confidence in his voice – and the harmonies are on the money throughout. Why don’t you do more of these, Tim?
The lyrics “What did you do? We worshipped you, now you’re just a fallen hero,” have a nice ring to them, and the there’s a good shift in mood to the unusual sounding chords (with open strings?) that come in for the line: What did you do?
Overall, it’s an urgent sounding, bluesy/punk song with a certain ragged glory – excellent work.
Colin Parish – I am a Nurse
Beautifully done with some lovely melodies – Colin’s best work so far. Perhaps he’s putting together a rock opera based on hospitals and health; I seem to remember one song written by a dead bloke, another by someone in constant pain and now there’s the other side of the coin with a nurse narrator. Well done – it’s good to celebrate an unsung hero.
Colin’s ensured that there aren’t too many instruments competing for attention – in that sense the arrangement is really good. It feels like he’s crafted a song here and used the Garage Band effects to complement it, rather than the other way round. There’s some majestic singing, and marvellous high harmonies from Kate at the back end of the chorus. The vocals are low in the mix, so many of the words are difficult to hear, but standing out above all is the quality of the arrangement and the tunefulness; on these counts it never fails. Terrific.
Patrick Duffin - Nile by Miles
He’s pulled another rabbit out of the hat: a smooth, highly accomplished piece of tight-trousered funky disco. The singing isn’t quite as high as Kate’s on I am a Nurse, but not far off.
It’s brilliantly produced, with a lesson to us all in how to bring instruments in and out, and how to write a song with only a few chords. I’ve got to say though that when I first heard the intro it reminded me a bit of The Birdie Song.
The chorus really is superb, reminiscent of When Will I Be Famous by Bros and Wham Rap. The bass playing is a highlight along with the badass backing vocals and the playful combination of high and low voices on ‘Raise your glass in the air (come on, come on), drink a toast to the king of disco’. Chic produced some sparkling songs but they could have found room for this in their catalogue.
Punning/irony is a risky business but it works in the line: ‘You’ve got to hand it to him, it’s all in the fingers’, which fits perfectly around the chords in the chorus and reminds me of that old Elvis Costello pun: ‘I’ll step on the brake to get out of her clutches.’
The disco flourishes, such as the spiralling synth sounds in the breakdown section, are really good. Great title, great playing, great instrumentation and great singing.
Stephen Clarke - Going Out Again
Stephen’s tactic of paring things down to guitar strumming and vocals works brilliantly here, heightening the impact of the brief additions such as the harmony vocals and the snatch of extra guitar on the bridge. His talent is in writing songs that stand up without the need for much more than the instrument he wrote them on and a good vocal.
I like the unexpected chord on the ‘you’ bit of 'he’s saving me and you' and the bridge is terrific, complemented by the extravagance of that extra guitar. Before reading the sleeve notes I thought this additional instrument was a synthesiser, and had visions of Stephen’s fans yelling ‘Judas’ at his next gig.
The chorus is strong as is often the case in Stephen’s work, accompanied by nice backing vocals.
Lyrically it’s another big success because we’re reminded of the fear felt by a young bloke up in the skies, but also how his normal life is derailed and that he can’t romance the girl next door. This is a nice touch. I felt the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Billy Bragg – a very good song.
Mike Gosling – Rebel Heroes
Mike’s guitar sounds as razor sharp as ever on this one, and he’s produced a nostalgic, punky lament. He can pull this song out during a live performance when Karl goes off the stage for a quick towelling down after the bombast of This is the Year.
He’s stripped it down to the basics with the strum of a guitar and a couple of voices, and that’s all that’s needed. The low harmony is an unusual tactic which works well, and there’s the smart lyric of ‘No More Strummer, now that’s a bummer’. I like the way the guitar is pumped up on the two-minute mark. A highly commendable effort given that it was written and recorded an hour or two before the deadline.
Tim and Glyn - Joni
There’s a great start to this one with Glyn’s excellent singing and dreamy piano playing, complete with a soulful array of bada ba dadas, oos and ahs. Tim’s tasteful electric guitar adds some important colours to the mix too. Tim and Glyn are SWC royalty when it comes to delivering a soothing experience of this kind.
I’m a Joni fan and I reckon she’d be impressed with the sweetness displayed here. ‘No-one can paint life like you’ is a good line. There are sections of the lyrics that I can’t quite hear, but there is a great piano figure at 1.33, repeated at various other points.
Phil Sanderson – There are no mistakes save one, the failure to learn from a mistake
Phil’s gone his own way again, with a melange of exotic percussive sounds and strings alongside his mouthful of a title. There’s an intoxicating ambience, as there is with much of Phil’s stuff, although this feels less like a song and more like a section from a film score. It makes me wonder what Phil has up his sleeve for next month’s instrumental task. His music traverses the continents, with past influences from Asia, the Europe, the Americas and Africa. None of the rest of us can say that, and it’s great that he’s not confined by the parameters of western pop/rock. I don’t know King Crimson’s stuff very well, so it’s hard for me to judge whether this works as a homage. Either way, it’s superbly put together and comes from his hefty book of experimental mood pieces. Very enjoyable.
Rob’s done it again for June, a matter of hours after sending in the song an email pops up saying ‘there’s going to be a delay so anyone who has already submitted a song can make some improvements if they want to.’ It may be because I’m paranoid or, possibly that Rob is my talented younger brother but I interpret these messages as ‘Tim, your song is sh*t, have another go.’ Apathy overtook me (as it usually does) and I left it untouched. Rob assures me he doesn’t listen to the songs before he’s posted them on line.
Ollie and Stan - Eddie Custard
Is there anyone who doesn’t find Laurel and Hardy funny? I doubt it, and I can easily see how watching them could be therapeutic on all sorts of levels. The piano intro is reminiscent of the country song submitted last year, but it gives little clue as to what is to come. A strong melody and good hooks. I really like the backing vocals on the second verse. It’s certainly unusual to hear that organ sound. I always loved the sound of the oboe (?) and the way it emerges for the instrumental break is great.
Me and Julie
I should have credited Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong, some spokeswoman from the IOC talking about Ben Johnson and a tearful Marion Jones.
I am a nurse - Colin Parish
This has made things click into place about some of the comments Colin made on some of my psychology offerings in the past. Colin may be a nurse working in mental health. I feel like Colin is an engine driver while I’ve been messing about with a little train set.
The beeps are a great way to start to put you into the mood but, I’m not really a fan of the guitar sound you've been using. Is it something from garageband? I would like the vocals to be a bit higher in the mix but the overall sound is really soothing and reassuring (pretty much what you’d hope for from a nurse).
Nile by miles - Patrick Duffin
Wow, you nailed this one. I can imagine Patrick got the leg warmers and a vest on to make this sound SO disco. Your usual polished production makes this kind of disco an ideal subject. It's really begging for a video of Pans People do one of their splendidly literal dance interpretations . I’m full of admiration. ‘It’s all in the fingers’ is that a reference to Bernard Edwards?
Going out again - Stephen Clarke
This song really brings us back to subject for this month. Can there be any greater heroes than those young men that took part in the battle of Britain? It’s a great way to tell the story from a slightly different angle. I like that if you’re not paying attention the song could be about something altogether different. Really clever stuff. The middle section is great the way it melts back into the verse. The minimalism here reminds me of Ed Sheran. Also, I’m slightly jealous that Stephen has a consistency of sound that could make most of his output sit happily together on an album.
Rebel Heroes - Mike Gosling
I’m glad Mike has joined me in bemoaning heroes rather than talking about them glowingly. I like the guitar sound and the melody but, probably due to a lack of time, the final product somehow lacks a bit of punch. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned Billy Brag in my comments last month.
Joni - Tim and Glyn
I love the backing vocals and the guitar fills. There is plenty of space here so we can bask in the glory of it. I don’t know much about Joni Mitchell (other than Little Yellow Taxi is not representative) but this is a lovely, dreamy piece that lets Glyns vocals really shine. I like the piano slow triplet thing that gets us into the bridge.
There are no mistakes - Phil Sanderson
What’s going on? Phil, who historically struggles with drums, decides to mimic Bill Bruford! As I read the sleeve notes I’m quietly thinking to myself ‘don’t do it Phil!’ until the track starts. This is very King Crimson (though I’m not an aficionado). There’s plenty going on but it never gets in the way of the main idea. It’s really very good. My only problem is it doesn’t have any vocals, I was really wishing it would have a section in the middle (just as ‘frame by frame’ does, I love that song) but it never came.
Patrick's thoughts on July's songs - well done again everyone, something good about all of them I thought. Maybe it's me but I can't seem to access the vote page ?
Ollie and Stan - Eddie Custard Nice lyric - "together they were twice the man", and continuing throughout, you've got to the heart of how profound comedy can be. This arrangement seems tighter and more focussed than previous, maybe it's the absence of drums, but you've concentrated the harmony elements well, with nothing fighting for space in the mix. I like the 2/4 bar which introduces the chorus "ollie and Stan", breaks ut the meter to good effect. Lovely layered Aaaahs too. The melodion/flute ? solo is a nice contrast to the sung verses. As with your others there is the trademark pretty elegance of the melody which is always reaching and wistful. As I'm a fan of Laurel and Hardy I get all the references, including the toot toot theme. Well done, up there with your best.
Used to be a sporting hero - Tim and Julie Interesting and well worked theme of sportsman fallen from grace, I like the guitar sound, but find that they battle a bit for room with the drums and vocals, especially in the verse. The vocals are in a higher range than usual for TIm and they're well delivered, so it would be nice to give them a bit more room to be heard. Nice clean vocal sound too. The newsreel flashes work really well, but again this good idea is swamped a bit by the bossy guitars. The outro is catchy and nicely simple. Reminds me of a good era of jagged new wave guitar pop from the late seventies.
I am a nurse - Colin Parish Lovely wash of sound to start, but the machine that goes ping is a little disconcerting, as I'm always expecting it to make the flatline sound, but it provides a great steady rhythmic pulse. I've always liked the way you come up with imaginative percussive elements. There's that great guitar/sitar/zither sound too which I've no idea how you play it but it sounds great. Nice vocal combination of male and female voices, and a touching lyrical theme. My sister's a nurse too, I'm sure she'd relate to the words. I think this is your best yet.
Going out again - Stephen Clarke Although you write simple arrangements they still sound sophisticated, and elements keep coming and going to keep the listeners attention, without anything detracting from the most important thing in any pop record - the vocal. I like this one, and I always say this, but this is the sort of arrangement I'd have sweated weeks over trying to hone down. I'm not sure whether that's the case with you. There's never any unnecessary garnish or overindulgence with your songs and they're all the better for it.
Rebel Heroes - Mike Gosling I like the octave vocals, with witty rhymes. I can imagine this being played at Live Aid, its got that festival open spaces about it. I like the energetic pared down arrangement, and the bashy fender jaguar style guitar. Odd that sometimes less is more, but it takes bravery to be confident about it. I don't think this suffers at all to be without drums and stuff. It also lets the listener concentrate on the words.
Joni - Tim and Glynn Even the piano sound is like something from Blue. Nice to hear Glynn doing harmonies, well performed, and well arranged. The glassy guitar compliments the piano nicely. For me it would have been great if the song slowly revealed itself layer by layer, with things gradually appearing in each section until everything is in by the end, as all the ingredients work well, this would give the arrangement more dynamics. The verse is your best yet I feel.
There are no mistakes - Phil Sanderson What a great title - inspiring and profound. I like the drumming (is it a real person?) and the crazy guitar pattern, like something from Ultimate Guitar Magazine. It has a nice ensemble feel, and despite the complexity it is still nice and clear with not too many elements battling for space. I can imagine a lot of musicians being into this band and dragging their wives along to see them live at the Royal Festival Hall. One of those pieces that if I had to play it live I'd need a good lie down afterwards ( and learn from all the mistakes I'd made during the performance.) I enjoyed it. Well done.
Post by philsanderson on Jul 19, 2015 17:39:45 GMT
Ollie and Stan - Eddie Custard
No drums and even more space to appreciate all the other brilliant elements here. Your delivery of the lyrics and choice of instrumentation is really so good. After the opening bars and the sleeve notes I was kind of expecting something else. The emphasis on the value of teamwork is such a good one. I should have invited you to speak to my current class – too late as I only have two days to go until end of term! ( Hooray!) Really enjoyed the way the oboe fits in to the song, I was initially less sure about the organ sound, but it feels completely natural on subsequent listening. Some songs immediately conjure up strong visual images for me, and I could straight away imagine a lovingly put together slideshow of Laurel and Hardy images.
Used to be a Sporting Hero – Tim and Julie
There’s quite a battle going on between the guitar and the vocal and the guitar and the audio clips! I think the guitar won! Really like the chords and the nice live feeling. Recording each part as one take gives it a nice urgent feel. You should send this to the ‘fallen heros’ - in all three cases the disgraced athletes are still making money or living on the money they made. ( Marion Jones is reputedly sitting on a 500 million dollar estate! ) Some quick witted fellow Harwich Runner thought I ought to take a drugs test after last Tuesday’s 5k run –which I’ll take as a compliment rather than a slur on my character.
I am a Nurse - Colin Parish
Highest pitch vocal award goes to....! This is a great song. The sentiment is such a good one, and the lyrics so spot on. (My daughter’s current aspiration is to be in the nursing or pharmaceutical profession.) Nursing, despite mainly positive public perception continues to be undervalued and underpaid, whilst the pay and working conditions appear to be worsening year on year. I digress. I do like that ‘sitar’ sound, but for once felt it could have been replaced with a more orthodox guitar sound – but it IS STILL REALLY GOOD nevertheless!! I had a fear of the ‘beep’ flatlining at the end, but on the second listen appreciated the way it mirrors the continual and neverending endeavours of those on the frontline in hospitals.
Nile by Miles - Patrick Duffin
Patrick’s attempt at world domination continues apace, and I for one am on his side, backing him in whatever he chooses to aspire to ( Prime Minister, Head of United Nations, President of the USA...) Another slice of compositional and performance brilliance here. Everything on this is so well judged and executed, so I’ll pick out just a few bits: the great brass bursts and the bass work....could go on. Maybe we could reward PD with a lifetime achievers award just like in the Brits. Hold on, thought of something missing for Patrick’s entry! – we need a photo montage of the group. There’s a challenge!
Going out again - Stephen Clarke
Another really good inspiration for lyrics from Stephen. I don’t know how you continually knock out such classy and effective words month after month. I suspect that you’re also a bloody good poet, Stephen and we’d all be buying your poetry anthology on Amazon if you decided to release your work! Very pleasing guitar sounds again. Maybe a little different this month as without the skiffle band behind you the guitar is doing a little more work- very tasty rhythmic work!
Rebel Heroes - Mike Gosling
I had the pleasure of seeing Mike perform in a more experimental style live earlier this month. It was a truly heroic performance ( sort of a pun that works as the music accompanied a poem about a hero ). This is so different to what Mike was playing that night, but has the same level of energy and the ability to demand the listener sits up and stops what they’re doing. The guitar playing is bold as ever and fits perfectly to the vocal and lyrical content. I wonder if July’s instrumental will include some of the more esoteric guitar work I saw the other week... I sort of hope so, but would still be happy tapping my foot along to the ‘Rebel hero’ / This is the Year delivery style!
Joni - Tim and Glyn
I was lucky to have had a ( slightly ) earlier preview of this song and was blown away by the vocal sound and arrangement. I’m a big fan of Joni Mitchell - The piano part and the harmonies would sit perfectly on a JM album. Glyn’s vocals, always first class, have reached a new level with this song, and the instrument playing is so well judged from first note to last.
I have listened back to a few of my attempts at vocals on the now deleted section of the song. Still glad I did not include it – song would have been quite long, and quite frankly my hayfever laden singing was not up to the task!
Sorry for lack of comments this month, but I go on holiday this week and I'm running out of time to do everything - again! I will vote though. I thought there were a few gems amongst this months entries and have enjoyed listening to them all. Well done.
Some very nice chorus and riff action this month, I thought. My favourite kind of musical action, and everyone got in on it.
Re my own entry - it wasn't "pared down". All I'd add to my arrangements in most cases would be drums and a better mic, nothing more. I'm still haunted by the intrusion of those awful violins on Starman.
Eddie C & the SOD (can that be right?) Ollie and Stan Great chorus, both in tune and lyrics, and it really works to go into the chorus so quickly and get us hooked from the outset. I love the "twice the man" and "belly laughs" lines hinting at Ollie's girth, but kindly. Some excellent chord progressions, fine harmonizing, and I really like the bass playing in the clarinet instrumental break (great tune there, too). The melody is so strong and the chorus is so uplifting that (being a strummer myself) I could also imagine it as an upbeat guitar piece with one of your signature guitar solos.
Tim & Julie Sporting Hero The verse chords sounded like the Sex Pistols mixed with the Doobie Brothers – not a bad combination in my book. Nice vocals, with a memorable, quirky "fallen hero" chorus that I was still singing when I got up to make a cup of tea. And your "live" recording came across very well. I don't know why you're worried about the guitar solo – it works, the crisper sound standing out perfectly against the background. I especially liked the interplay between guitars and bass in the "what did you do" bit, it breaks up the rhythm really well. The radio sound clips gave it a very 70s feel, too.
Colin P I am a Nurse It's almost as if you were shy of singing such poignant words – you could have mixed the vocals higher, I think, because it is heroes month after all. I like the way the song is carried along by a patient's heartbeat (scarily fast, isn't it?), and how you periodically let it beep on its own, especially with that reprise at the end. Great choral chorus, and nice zithery breaks – you've developed a really personal sound.
Patrick D Nile by Miles Very envious of that popping bass, and those tight drum-brass-bass breaks. Not sure if it's pastiche or straight disco, but that's mainly because of some of the lyrics ("who's your daddy?"). Musically it works as an out and out groover, with some amazingly tight arrangements which are the real tribute to the master.
Mike G Rebel Heroes The opening section sounds a bit like a Billy Bragg folk song. Great guitar sound and rhythm playing, and I can picture how you'd have added thumping drums and booming bass if you'd have time. Some neat rhymes (strummer-bummer, and the sword-bored lines). I like the way it goes punk in the middle, when the role of the two vocals (high and low) seems to change over. Really excellent guitar playing.
Tim & Glyn Joni Very intimate, with some classy keyboards, and cool vocals. Great backing vocals, both the doobie-do's and the parts when the harmonies go choral. You've done this type of thing before, varying the strength and presence of the vocals to great effect. The discreet electric guitar dropping in and out really works, too. Fine tribute.
Phil Sanderson Mistakes Totally bonkers but it totally works. Your central riff really carries it along, amazingly well for something that could end up being repetitive if you didn't vary it so cleverly. The way the barrage of drums and guitars changes rhythm and volume, with the bass chugging just under the surface and other percussion bursting in and out, makes it a real 70s prog tribute, but also something bigger and orchestral. I think you could have gone the whole hog and allowed yourself a massive farewell chord as a sign-off.
Well done everybody on another good batch of songs. It was interesting to see the choice of "heroes" and the musical treatments of said heroes.
Eddie / Stan and Ollie Great lyrics as usual (the chorus is a nice couplet). I really like the harmonies in verse 2 - some of your best vocal work. There are a couple of unusual (to my ears) chord choices in the chorus and this drew my attention to the church organ sound - I'm not sure it was the right sound for me. The oboe is a lovely surprise in the instrumental/ Overall the music and instrumentation gave the song a more melancholy feel than I was expecting from the subject matter (reflecting your memories of watching their films?). The last organ notes (are they the toot toots Patrick mentioned?) made me smile. A very heartfelt, sincere homage. Well done.
Tim and Julie / Sporting Hero I really like the guitar part and especially the chorus chords. The vocals are excellent esp on the verses. The (brief) guitar solo works very well and it's another fine middle section where the banned substances get sampled. The various bits of percussion (in the middle section) and the handclaps all work well. I think I would have made the drum part less busy as there is quite a lot going on between drums, bass and guitar. I liked the theme (like my song it's a bit of a grumpy old man theme!), it is certainly hard to watch some sports these days without doubts creeping in about whether the athletes are clean. Chris Froome must be particularly miffed.
Colin P / Nurse This is my favourite of Colin's songs so far. The subject matter is obviously heartfelt. I like the hearbeat throughout (and was glad it didn't flatline). The melodies for both verse and chorus and very fine. Like others I wish the vocals had been mixed a little higher to hear the lyrics more clearly. Instrumentation-wise, I feel that the song could have developed more by introducing more layers later on (or less instruments early on). The acoustic guitar part has some unusual choices of notes and is so bright and clear that for me it detracted from the overall sound. Top marks to Kate for those high vocals!
Patrick / Nile Wow - a really accomplished production - everything is spot-on. In particular the brass and string riffs are perfectly judged. The Bernard Edwards popping bass is also a joy. The vocals are great - the low "who's a daddy"? leading into the chorus works so well with Patrick's high lead vocal. The lyrics are very clever with the references to New York/Studio 54 times of the late 70s/ early 80s. A great homage to a master musician (from another master musician). Well done indeed.
Stephen / Going Out Again Once again Stephen delivers a great lyric with plenty of melodic hooks against the simplest of arrangements. I particularly like the way the chorus vocal finishes (on "home"). The subject matter is a good choice. It's interesting that you chose to namecheck Ginger/Fred, what with Eddie's homage to Stan/Ollie - it's a shame Rob W didn't have time to honour Bing. Another great effort form Stephen.
Tim and Glyn / Joni A lovely, lovely sound. The piano is very nice indeed; the clean guitar for the chorus is perfect. and Glyn's vocals are very good. The backing vocals arrangements (and execution) is probably my favourite part of the whole arrangement. I very much like the piano motif leading into the chorus. The lyrics are very good - "no-one paints like life like you" summing up both Joni's songwriting abilities and her painting career. The whole production and a very natural feel to it. I don't whether the instruments (piano in particular) were recorded in a single take - but it felt like a very coherent performance. Nice one.
Phil / Mistakes This has a great busy quality to it. The guitar, bass and drum (programming?) are all very fine. I (like a few others) do not know King Crimson that well - I know Robert Fripp from listening to Fripp / Eno, David Sylvian. - but the sound has a very authentic late prog sound to it. Although the track didn't necessarily need a conventional vocal, I do feel that it could have had a top melody line in places. In particular, I felt the section where the bass is prominent (at 1:09 and 3:07) could have had a solo instrument or vocal melody. I like the sudden (and slightly speeded up?) end riff. It felt like you suddenly realise that the tape was going to run out and you had to finish the song pronto!
Sorry for delay - we just got back from a week away. I made a bit of a mess trying to post my comments - hope you don't get all of them twice.....
Eddie Custard & the Sons of the Desert: Ollie and Stan As is often the case with Eddie’s work, there’s a wistful sadness here that you seem to produce effortlessly. The song sounds nostalgic straight away but I don’t really understand why! The instrumentation is great, the chorus chords shouldn’t really work but somehow do and I love the oboe sound on the solo. Really well mixed as well, with the harmonies beautifully positioned in the mix so that they are full and clear. Love the hint of the theme tune at the end as well.
Tim & Julie Warner: Used to be a Sporting Hero Wow! Really punchy guitar and vocal sounds make this an absolute pleasure to listen to as the song tumbles along. Good catchy hooks on “what did you do” and “sporting hero”. The news broadcasts slot in really well and I love the musical backing behind them. Your vocals get better and better. Brilliant stuff.
Colin Parish: I am a Nurse I don’t use Garageband, so I’m always intrigued by the pallet of sounds you use – it is really distinctive and I suspect would be hard to reproduce outside of the media. You use the sort of sitar (ish) sound really effectively and I love your way with the melodies here which are some of your strongest. Kate’s voice really works well, adding another dimension to the song and the harmonies on the chorus were a real high point for us. I also thought the heartbeat was really effective, loved that it stopped and restarted and was so pleased it didn’t flatline at the end! Great sentiment for a song as well – I liked the directness and straightforwardness of the chorus in particular as I kept expecting it to elaborate when it didn’t need to because the verses added the depth.
Patrick Duffin: Nile by Miles Another masterclass in arrangement from Patrick. The bass and drums are the key here, which is a bit odd as the signature Nile Rodgers is the guitar part (which is not really apparent). That’s not to say it’s a problem as the feel of the song is spot on. It would be interesting to witness how you put this together as the timing is perfect throughout (which you could rarely accuse us of)! The brass interjections are spot-on and the vocal parts are catchy and well chosen. This is not a musical style I particularly like, but listening and commenting through SWC makes you realise how a deceptively simple style is actually a complex arrangement of timings and melodies. Nile Rodgers transcends musical styles but you’ve captured the Chic style brilliantly. Glyn heard it without realising it was a song for SWC and assumed I was listening to the radio or looking up songs on YouTube. This is seriously impressive stuff Patrick.
Stephen Clarke: Going Out Again We were brought up by a generation who lived through the war but I still managed to take for granted what people faced. This song really emphasises the isolation that many young pilots must have experienced and the complete uncertainty they faced. I particularly liked the muted guitar strings on the intro & verse, the subtle harmonies and the middle 8, which takes off in a really unexpected direction. This is nicely mixed as well, making it easy to hear the excellent lyrics and very well delivered.
Mike Gosling: Rebel Heroes Like Stephen, you’ve made excellent use of octave-apart harmonies and the immediacy of the electric guitar with no other backing makes this sound very similar in approach to Stephen’s song but with grittier sound that matches the topic well. Although it would be nice to hear it developed with other instruments, it would be a shame to lose the rough edges that make this such an engaging song to listen to. Neat change of pace and some great lyrics throughout.
Phil Sanderson: There are no Mistakes An amazing piece of composition from Phil. It sounds chaotic at first but once the riff settles in your head, it really works. Great riffing, terrific drum track and very subtle backing that allows the lead guitar to shine through. It’s hard to make something this technically accomplished still involve the listener – I found myself humming it on several occasions not realising what it was. Great stuff Phil.
Post by Colin Steward on Jul 27, 2015 15:15:50 GMT
Sorry everyone, for not getting notes/voting done in time. It may not have altered the outcome much but there possibly would have been a tie for first place! Well done everyone and well done Stephen for top slot. I'm hoping to submit this month since it's instrumental. You lot worry me, you are all too good!
Better late than never!!!! Sorry for the delay in reviewing these songs. A really, really impressive collection of songs.
Eddie C Ollie & Stan
Eddie definitely has a sound. It has evolved and continues to evolve but it’s distinctive and beautiful. When the song started I almost knew how it would sound but this particular plate of Custard just gets better and better with every listening. It IS a little bit ‘Squeeze’ in places (not a bad thing) but it’s actually better than that.
The arrangement (particularly the harmonies) are fantastic. They sound sublime and easy which is quite a difficult feat. The rest of the arrangement SOUNDS simple but I know that this song, unpicked, would reveal a level of control and brilliance far beyond my abilities and it’s a gift to make such tricky songs sound so easy. Well done.
By the way, I completely concur. I used to love Laurel and Hardy when I was a kid and still love them now. While I and my children are creasing with laughter, my wife is stone-faced. Weird how it appeals (and doesn’t appeal) to different people.
Tim & Julie Used to be a Sporting Hero
Oh my God! I absolutely love this. This is it. This is the moment. You’ve found your sound (again!) Great chord structure, great lyrics (Lance Armstrong? Or ‘failed’ sporting stars in general?)
Brilliant. I can’t praise it highly enough and the length is perfect.
You’ve found a voice (where did that come from?) I’ll be honest. When I listen to most songs, nine times out of ten I always imagine how I would sing them. I know that I could not have performed a better vocal for this.
I’ve said it before, but there is always a hint of Alice Cooper (no bad thing in my book) and this is no exception. Well done. Absolutely brilliant.
Colin P I am a Nurse I loved the ‘beep beep’ intro. Very clear what it represented (given the title.) I really enjoyed the strength of the steel string guitar and was completely fooled as it quickly became clear that it was a very good sample played on a keyboard (I think!)
The melody was strong but I struggled to actually hear the words. The female voice was a welcome addition but I wish there had been the opportunity for it to weave a harmony rather than doing an octave above Colin’s vocal.
The reoccurring ‘beep’ is a great hook especially as it sits completely alone.
The only thing that made me wince a little was the harmony on the second ‘I am a nurse’. A really, really good and pleasing effort.
Patrick D Nile by Miles I love Nile Rodgers (what’s not to like?) I took slight offence at the bass because (and please correct me if I’m wrong) but it’s a sampled keyboard. The song burbles along very pleasingly and then there’s Patrick’s typical hook into the Chorus that makes one shake one’s head in a kind of resigned ‘Okay, he’s done it again…the bastard’ And the chorus builds over time including the ‘low’ voices. I absolutely love whatever it is that he’s done to his voice. Lots of presence. Maybe he’s really turned the compression up and whacked up the treble as well as taking out all the reverb. Typically brilliant and would definitely have got one of my votes had I managed to do that on time - sorry!
Stephen C Going Out Again When I saw the title, I assumed it was going to be an England football supporter’s song! I read the blurb and it’s a typically a brilliant lyric and an original vocal line. I would have loved a little more production but the melody is so memorable and the sentiment so well thought through that perhaps my need to tinker would have not done Stephen’s song any favours. I haven’t heard the rest, but I’m pretty sure that this would have secured a vote also, so the result - for those that care about such things - would have stood. Congrats Stephen. Another absolute triumph (your ‘Best of…’ compilation for all your family and friends will be chock-full of hits!)
Mike G Rebel Heroes I really like the reference to the Stranglers song. And I love the Chorus about all our Rebel Heroes being ones and zeroes. Brilliant.
Even Mike’s understated one instrument treatment sounds rich and fantastic. He’s really got the production bit between his teeth. As ever, the melody is well structured and memorable. But as with Colin P’s song the decision to do an octave backing vocal, this tune particularly would have benefitted from some well thought out harmonies and, let’s be honest, a full band playing it. Maybe this is one that Mike will run with in the future with ‘The Sounding Line’ or some other band.
Tim & Glyn Joni I would not have heard ANY Joni Mitchell if it weren’t for Tim & Glyn. I remember us trying a number or two back in the day! I loved the chord progression from the off on this one and I really loved Glyn’s voice (and the many layers of backing vocals.) I also REALLY loved the sparsity of the backing. There is some absolutely lovely piano work and the layered vocals get better and better. There have been too many great songs from this pair for me to say that this is my absolute favourite but it would be right up there. It also reminds a bit of John Martyn.
I was so carried away with the sound of the instruments and the vocals that I didn’t listen to the lyrics at all! (That’s not untypical!) But a second listen told me what I knew already that Glyn LOVES Joni and that the lyrics were the perfect icing!
Phil S There are no mistakes save one, the failure to learn from a mistake This is the type of stuff I used to listen to a lot when I was growing up. I must confess my King Crimson digestion was limited (I think I liked ‘prog’ but I needed vocals and KC never gave me that to my knowledge.) This is great and Phil’s production is really, really strong in places. Worthy of a ‘Real World’ production. Phil will not struggle at all with the ‘odd time signature’ month. I thought this was a triumph. I love the development of the sound, particularly toward the end. It also felt like it was just about to launch again when it was cut dead. Deliberate? Or did Phil think that one can only have so much KC in one sitting?
I would have struggled this month with the third vote as every other song was worthy of consideration but this would definitely have been in the mix.