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  Lucky Jack b/w Build Around Me  
  i Concur  
  Brew Records  
Release Date:
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Leeds, England based i concur have chosen to follow up their self-released debut EP with a fun little 7" on Brew Records, their local imprint. I applaud them for releasing a 7", as i love the format. Alas, the marketing budget for such a small label is a little too tight to mail a delicate piece of vinyl halfway around the planet, so i received this promo in the efficient but spiritually void MP3 format. No matter, as a music critic it is my duty to the citizens to soldier on and listen to the tunes no matter what, so that my opinion may be a beacon unto you all...

Whoa, okay, no more Diet Sunkist for me. Apparently aspartame-laden orange soda brings out the pretentiousness... But i have to write something to fill in the space in the reivew that i would normally devote to talking about the physical vinyl. I am dying to know if Brew Records prints the speed on the discs! Someone who has this email me and let me know...

Okay, there are two songs here. Lucky Jack appears to be the A-side, based on how the single is listed on the website. What really shines for me here are the guitars, one of which chimes in cascading reverberations, while the other keeps a staccato rhythm. On the chorus, both are lifted up under echoing distortion. Tim Hann's voice is clear, and recorded so that it is audible even over the whirring guitars and thunderous drums. A nice effect, and this is a quality shoegazer tune.

The B-side is called Build Around Me, and this song seems very Editors-like to me. In general, it is composed of the same elements that i like on Lucky Jack, namely nicely effected guitars and Hann's clear voice. The voice is lighter and breathier here, and i guess that is what makes me think of Editors. Either way, the guitars build very slowly, spiraling upwards under layers of echo, to very nice effect. The song builds to a climax of echo and drumming that is rather lovely.

If you ordered this online, you get a bonus third MP3, i guess the C-side of the single. This is the Bracken Remix of Lucky Jack, and my god is it different. Bracken, as alert readers will be aware, is the solo project of Chris Adams, also of EvilSPonge favorites Hood. Bracken is Adams' solo electronic/hip-hop act, and he takes the basic shoegazer tune Lucky Jack and turns it into a powerful electronic event. He lays down some intense beats, brings in a thick wavering synth tone, and echoes the living hell out of the vocals. The end result is something entirely different, and yet equally as good, as the original. This version is dark, mysterious, mopey, and altogether more post-punk. Amazing job! If only he had done as well with the Bracken solo record...

Overall, this is good stuff. My only complaint is that, as an old shoegazer, i miss the days where the voice was buried under the guitars, and the effected guitar sound was, in fact, the focus of the tune. Hann is a decent singer, and his lyrics, while not Kerouac-esque poetry, are not bad either. But i still just wish that i hade more guitars. A minor complaint, as these days the guitars are subserviant to the vocals in so many bands. It might be a trendy production style, but that doesn't mean i have to like it!

If you are a fan of contemporary shoegaze, then this is a good 7" to pickup. In fact, i would recommend getting the virtual release for that stunning Bracken remix. However, if you do get the physical product, don't forget to let me know if they print the speed on the disc!

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Also on EvilSponge:
   EP: Whatever It's Going To Be


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