This album is the fruit of a new collaboration from Cate le Bon -stage name, no relation to Simon- and Tim Presley- I’m assuming no relation, but hey, the king got about a bit.
On agreeing that a lot of bands have excellent names but naff music, they went with Cate’s suggestion of DRINKS, the logic being “if you start with an awful name then the music…” After many months of talking, the album was recorded in LA over only a few weeks. They’d decided everything would be written as a team and the “rule was you weren’t allowed to bring a fully formed song into the studio.”
It’s nine tracks sees them sharing lead vocal duties on some riff heavy, faintly psychedelic, faintly punky tunes reminiscent of latter days Stranglers or early Velvets, playing songs that might have come from the mind of an early sixties psych-rock group but its ultimately American sound suggests a smattering of Mark Everett (Eels).
Hermits On Holiday moves between more sprightly, sing-along numbers and then into larger, more sprawling, intense but still playful songs. The uncomplicated, lo-fi, West coast production sees them gathering a mash of upfront drums and percussion, synths, backing harmonies sung and spoken, acoustic and electric guitar; the latter seeming to take the lead of the majority of bass like riffs.
It’s a vessel that perfectly supports the Barrett-y (Syd I mean, not the housing people) tinge of Presley’s voice on songs like ‘She walks too fast’ yet the immediacy of his delivery is most notable on ‘Focus on the Street’. Cate’s heavily accented (dunno what accent that is mind, says she’s Welsh on the press release and apparently sings in both English and Welsh but I’m not getting that off the record), Nico-like tones deliver a dead pan but very engaging sound. I especially like drainpipe-like effect of ‘Cannon Mouth’ and the crunchy, erratic flavour of the song of ‘Tim, Do I Like That Dog’ where Cate repeatedly ponders the question, ‘Tim, do I like that dog?’ to a back drop of drum fills and distorted guitar. And no, she doesn’t like that dog in case you’re wondering.
They haven’t let convention bind them to some formulaic ideal of songwriting but it’s a very listenable and interesting album.
They’re touring England throughout August, and will be well worth investigating I reckon.
I also ride horses and can shoot a bow and arrow. One day I fully intend to bring these talents into conjunction with one another.
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