oddfellows casino

Oddfellows Casino ‘the absence of birds’ (pickled egg). It’s been way too long since we’ve found ourselves romanced by the delicately floral tinged lush tones of David Bramwell’s creative muse. In fact not since 2003’s ’Winter Creatures’ graced our heart heavy hi-fi with its timeless floorshow of strangely beguiling softly cured jazz induced pastoral pop. Since that time nothing. The odd occasional rumour of a third album was mooted much in the same way as a comment of a passing acquaintance from the past are exchanged to fill conversational lulls. Deep down we feared the worst, such rare and precocious talents are usually so commercially unsustainable and rewarded that it’s a crime with most absconding into obscurity. So then imagine our delight when said 4 track EP pops through the mail box – not only that but tagged to the end a twenty minute film directed by Toby Amies entitled ‘ballad of odd fellow’ (more about that in a second) with the added promise of an album ‘the haunting of lady bower and other tales’ looming promisingly on the not to distant horizon. Now settled with a like minded musical collective in support featuring various members from Stereolab, Bevis Frond (whatever happened to them?), Clearlake and Giant Leap, Bramwell leads the troupe and listener alike on a joyous voyage into the sultry toned sophisticated worlds of his creative muse, a world of vivid tones, caressing tonalities, bespoke down tempo arrangements lush with rare vibrancy and romantic incline peppered with mood, mystery and melody. A treasure if I’m honest, far from the madding crowd these four tailored treats exude a deft worldly clarity and a sense of timeless etching, fluent in a pop language from another era the set opens to the opining waltz like ’your old skin and bones’ – a silken and smoked soothed soul gem replete with reclining threads of hush harmonies drenched in wells of chilled keys longingly dashed with echoes of tragically tear stained introspection all sumptuously glazed with the liberal braids of breezy flute florets. The tenderly sorrowful ‘Oddfellows Wake’ provides for a beautifully brittle ballad, Bramwell’s Wyatt like vocals softly caressing and crushed endow this spectral still life portrait with a church like resonance while the parting ’the ghost of oddfellows’ is succulently embracing slice of demurring perfection teased and framed within divinely arcing orbits of hazing honeycombs of lounge like fluffiness. Though all said and done for us ’take me out to the sea’ provides the set with its defining moment. A radiating cherrystone liltingly immersed in prodding braids of peeping brass arrangements festooned delightfully with mercurial folds of after hours grandeur comprising of driving montages of breathlessly breezy rustically hued cascades of head swirling jazz treatments peppered by lunatic chimes – total seduction if you ask me. As to the accompanying film – a bit of a strange one though that shouldn’t come as any great surprise to those familiar with the mystery and magic that so indelibly indents Oddfellows Casino. The premise of the film is the self inflicted misfortune of Ambrose Oddfellow, the owner and ring master of a Victorian freak show who accidentally kills his wife in a tragic knife throwing act and then spends the rest of his life in abject regret for the love he’s lost. Filmed and sepia framed as though a vintage film reel it finds the former Salvador Dali model and actor in films directed by both Warhol and Jarman – Drako Oho Zarhazar taking up the lead role, magnificently cast in the part – he does look a ringer for the bad guy in old Chaplin films, this short movie – an art form in itself features music provided for Bramwell and co, Bramwell incidentally has a cameo as the ’grinning man’. Joint single of the missive. http://www.pickled-egg.co.uk

september 2008

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