Monday, 11 July 2011

Recommended music: 'James Pants' by James Pants

When a record comes recommended to you from two people as diverse as Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6music DJ & son of John Peel) and Lady Miss Kier (former singer with Dee-Lite of 'Groove Is In The Heart' fame) then it's kinda hard to ignore it. So after hearing a couple of tracks on Tom's show and reading a tweet from Miss Kier I took the plunge and dived into James' Pants. Here's what I found.

'Beta' starts the album with fuzzy guitars matched with bleepy electronics and heavily distorted vocals, and a surprising guitar solo towards the end. Next is 'Every Night' - calmer, more melodic lo-fi electro with as reggae-ish rhythm and an 80s feel. He's singing 'Every night I dream of you', but I reckon they're pretty disturbed dreams. 'Clouds Over The Pacific' starts with pizzicato strings, which are joined by whispery female vocals. A dreamy, summery track - simple but rather lovely.

Track 4 'A Little Bit Closer' sounds a lot like it belongs on last year's Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti album. It's full of more lo-fi 80s sounds, then changes tempo halfway through and becomes a lot more frantic. 'Strange Girl' is 2 and a half minutes of reverb'ed vocals and fuzzy garage guitars over a manic drum machine. In contrast 'Screams of Passion' starts with two chords that sound almost exactly like the start of Wham's 'Last Christmas', followed by spoken/sung vocals, an instrumental sections that sounds like the future as imagined by people in the 70s, and ends with a pretty good guitar solo.

Next 'Incantation' reintroduces the female vocals - I think she's singing in a foreign language but the vocals are so distorted I can't tell. This is another of the more relaxed tracks on the record. 'Kathleen' is a pretty straightforward pop song, with hints of 80s Prince, especially the funky bass and falsetto vocals. Then 'Body on Elevator' is a brief instrumental, and is followed by 'Darlin'', a bouncy 60's-type at-the-hop love song.

'Alone' has a sax introduction, congas, and a great melody. 'These Girls' is a pretty throwaway track, but 'Dreamboat' more than makes up for it - with its Theremin sound and female vocals you could give this to Goldfrapp and they'd have no trouble passing it off as one of their own. Lastly 'Epilogue' closes things down, and basically sounds like it's all the bits left over from the rest of the tracks - snatches of French dialogue, some bleeps, chords and the sound of waves lapping finish things off.

It's a pretty schizophrenic album, but that's part of its charm - you never know what turn it's going to take next.

James Pants - Darlin' by stonesthrow

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