Friday, January 16, 2009

The Sidewalk Regrets
The Sidewalk Regrets

This elegiac in sound and spirit compilation of studio, live and home recordings released in commemoration of mainman Jamie Thompson, a casualty of god knows what at age twenty-two in 2000, from the astoundingly named Aussies forges a pathway between fellow continental drain-drinkers The Birthday Party, The Scientists and The Drones, mangling the formers jagged, boneshaker rhythms with the shimmering humanity of the scorched-heart rending rivers of the latter. If it’s a wake, it’s one in the traditional celebratory sense, the restless anguish and dysfunctional grace inherent in the above bands here alive and crying incandescently with intense grit, grandeur and swamp-drenched sorrows. Epic scalping guitars scrape and gyrate soundtracks ‘cross arid heartlands of ill-fortune and miserly gains in webs of selfs – loathing, lust, guilt and immolating - in a hazy petrol vitriol of scornful Morrissey / Cave crooning - scar-strangled splendour twisting into sardonic realms of disquiet, with an addictive, unrefined ardour belying no traces of the Manchester legends' archness – like velvet dragged over a barbed-wire corset. Yet their controlled stampedes are all the more exciting and explicit for what may lie beneath. Though there be telling influences of the post-punk early eighties they are given nary a scant disregard as they ignite a splendorous antidote to prevailing dregs of Joy Division yawning drizzly ditherings, with tender hints where the perceptive may open links to the likes of a Green On Red or a tuneful though no less dishevelled Nikki Sudden. It’s all a matter of taste and depth and this harrowing empowering case of what coulda beens sure digs deep in it’s glorious, gorgeous majestic dirges of soaring despair.
Stu Gibson

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