City Forgiveness Double CD
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Vinyl, 21 Oct 2013
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The Wave Pictures’ ebullient, sardonic pop, a mix of minor key ballads and rock ‘n’ roll harmonies, has established them as one of the UK’s great cult bands.
Double album ‘City Forgiveness’ is the band’s fifth studio album, released on Moshi Moshi
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On the bad side, there are a fair proportion of tunes that are a little too repetetive, or too lightweight for my liking (perhaps it's cos I'm a rocker! ). The track Narrow Lane would've been okay if it was'nt for that annoying saxophone. Also, quite a few of the songs tend to have the same old tempo, and the singer, although well suited for the kind of music the band play, can sound a bit weedy.
For the good points; it is the more rock guitar orientated tracks with the solos in them that I prefer. All My Friends ends with a cracking solo that you seldom hear on modern rock recordings these days. All lyrics are clearly audible; something that is unusual in rock and pop. "They haven't got a f---ing clue" is clearly heard on Tropic.
I think City Forgiveness would have been a much better album if it was a single, rather than a double CD, then perhaps they could have omitted some of the weaker tracks and kept the more rockier ones.
What I fear is that this blisteringly great DOUBLE album from The Wave Pictures may not get a look-in at all. If not, that would be a travesty, for CITY FORGIVENESS is nothing short of a masterpiece. Packed in to its 90 minutes we have scuzzy blues, bittersweet vocal harmonies, sprightly guitar solos that never outstay their welcome, melodious basslines, drums that roll and rumble, then sputter and syncopate. An African flavour is often present due to David Tattersall's beautiful flecked guitar lines. Overall, the sound is dangerously infectious and the songs will swiftly become lodged in your GRATEFUL HEAD.
Highlights? Well, "Better To Have Loved" is a cracker that glides along on minor chords and a melancholy lyric. "Whisky Bay" is as mellow as it's title suggests. "Red Cloud Road" is lo-fi Paul Simon but with no whiff of pastiche. "Atlanta" is subdued piano-led calypso with a chorus to die for. "Lisbon" rocks out on a drum pattern that is looser than clowns' trousers. "New Skin" is a song to cry to. "Golden Syrup"......... I'll stop there, because to be frank there is very little on this album that doesn't cut the mustard.
And let us not forget that this is a DOUBLE ALBUM. Kudos to The Wave Pictures for encouraging extended listening in this age-of-the-short-attention-span. We are gifted with ninety minutes of great quality songs and not a note is wasted. The freshness is retained throughout. The same cannot be said of Arcade Fire's latest lengthy release, which is weighed down by too much flabby self-indulgence.
In conclusion - In this reviewer's humble opinion, CITY FORGIVENESS is THE album of 2013. I hope there are many souls out there who agree.
And go see them live! They're pretty much the best around.
Also a brilliant live band where the said guitar solos are stupendous.
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