john carpenter – we got a friend request a few weeks back from John Carpenter – no not that John Carpenter. this John Carpenter are a band hailing from New York headed up by a certain John Carpenter (well we say a band – its more John Carpenter and Co) – again not that John Carpenter. Getting a tad confusing eh?!. We shouldn’t wonder that they are the toast of the New York underground and if they aren’t then we want immediate reasons in writing to the usual address, for John Carpenter may well have hatched some of the tastiest slices of cross generic engineering not heard in pop since the heady days of Prince. Therein the similarity ends for the popular culture pools that John Carpenter and Co dip their toes are crafted with a keen eyed detailing that’s been informed by rock n’ rolls primitive legacy. the howling dust bowled death rattle of ’seasons’ culled from their current 7 inch set for Mexican Summer (more about them later) with its smoked Link reverbs and wasted and threadbare gallows creaking spaghetti western hollowing, like a ghostly opine from rocks forgotten wilderness this bruised beauty squirms and shimmers seductively as though some neo shade adorned psyche twang snake grind crafted by a youthful Gallon Drunk found sparring with the Flaming Stars with Wall of Voodoo hiding in the sidelines twiddling with the mixing desk dials. Its flip side also featured here – ’haunt my house’ is a spectral charged lovelorn lovely whose aching resonance nibbles ever so delicately into spheres once occupied by Chris Isaak. Elsewhere you’ll find the four cuts culled from his as yet download only (though soon to appear on vinyl) ’possibilities’ EP wherein Carpenter and Co reveal themselves at their most mercurial, ’one for me’ traces at times the slick artistry of Porcupine’s Tree’s ‘stupid dream’ set and welds upon it a strangely beguiling and sleekly seductive uber cooled hip grind that’s dimpled with a seriously attractive snaking strut whose bloodline can be faintly sourced all the way back to Marc Bolan. ’strange house’ imagines the Sparks in some lushly laced psyche furrowed English eccentricity while ‘without a sound’ purrs and permeates succulently weaving its way beneath your defences sumptuously unfurling to briefly teasing moments of glorious euphoria who noir shaded chamber pop resplendence much recalls mid 90’s harbingers of heartbreak Rialto. The haunting ’sail on’ just needs to be heard to be believed – both tender and supernatural, this eerie shanty of doom romance woos with an other worldly ethereal grace – those of you needing references – then imagine Billy McKenzie fronting an early career Black Heart Procession while the fracturing and fragmenting ’bones’ with its slickly racy shoe shuffling skiffle wiring sounds like its fallen off the back of some Victoriana freak circus wagon train – admirers of Lupen Crook and Paul Hawkins will find much to swoon about here. The slyly distracting ’all that glitters is gold’ rounds up the set braided bitter sweetly by a quietly effervescent thrill and treated to a swirling soul consuming wide screen presence that’ll literally crush you and have you begging for more once in earshot. Did we mention the vocals – damn – they’ll floor you – think of a scale soaring brew cultivated from the cross matching of a young Bowie without the monotone tonal trimming, a controlled falsetto styled Billy McKenzie, Brett Anderson and Scott Walker. If such things are your bag – then I guess welcome to your new favourite band.


first published – August 10th, 2009 

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