Sunday, October 23, 2005


The Inconsolable

Listening to 4-track demos requires imagination. Usually vocals get buried in the mix or are claustrophobic, guitars inevitably sound muffled and muddy and there's always some weird production element--an errant effects pedal or the like--that the artist seems to think is a good idea but gets in your way. So it's up to you to imagine what a song might sound like with better recording equipment, a little engineering assistance and, most importantly, feedback from people other than his/her closest friends.

But imagination can be its own reward when you find something as promising as The Inconsolable. Professional handle (and a lovely one at that) of English singer/songwriter Robin Allender, The Inconsolable has some beautiful, albeit rough, folk-pop jewels. I don't normally compare guys with guitars to Elliott Smith because a) it's lazy and b) it's rarely accurate--Smith was a once-in-a-generation proposition. But Allender takes a very similar tack with distinctive syncopation, shifting time signatures and finger-picked melodies. (Unlike a lot of singer/songwriters these days, he actually sounds like he can play the guitar.) He's also obviously influenced by trad English folk revivalists like Martin Carthy and Fairport Convention. Probably even Simon and Garfunkel. But that's the kind of uncool thing no one seems to want to admit these days. . .

A contemporaneous point of comparison might be Great Lake Swimmers, though I'm liking these songs more than anything in the Tony Dekker ouevre. For all their prettiness, Dekker's tunes rarely offer a hook to hang your hat on. But after a listen or two to a memorable Inconsolable track like "The School Field," I think you, like me, will find yourself humming it while brushing your teeth or waiting for the bus.

Allender is working on an EP, which his label, Dreamboat Records anticipates releasing early in the new year. I look forward to hearing how these intriguing demos develop into fully realized songs.

Twilightsleep Idea - The Inconsolable

The School Field - The Inconsolable

The Bird and The Word - The Inconsolable

Allender is also a member of the band Azalea City Penis Club. I'm not exactly a post-rock girl and am therefore probably the wrong audience for this sort of thing. But you may like it.

Thunder and Wonder - Azalea City Penis Club


Anonymous EV said...

Some nice songs here, esp. The School Field.

9:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home