Schizo Fun Addict / the Bordellos ‘Kassette’ (small bear records).
Would you believe we’ve actually waited over a year or more for the emergence of this quite frankly splendid split set. What started out as a concerned helping hand kick up the seat of the pants aimed at some bloke who just listens to a few records and writes words about them, with the sole aim that he get his act together was enough to have this shyly retiring person somewhat humbled and slightly embarrassed. Neither did the fact go unnoticed that this charitable offer was put up by two of his favourite bands, namely Schizo Fun Addict and the Bordellos. Of course the humbling and embarrassment hit such critical levels that the offer was politely declined. Still the idea remained, grew and almost became an obsession for one of the collaborative parties and once the seeds were sown Schizo’s Jet and Sister Jayne just ran with it and in their mind’s eye desired to create something merely more than another release but rather more a dedicated piece of art with a devilishly conceived idea for a lucky dip.
But more about that later.
So what we have is a strictly limited hand numbered 100 only cassette. On side a newly peeled album by New York’s alchemists of warping sun shine pop while on the other St Helens finest sonic sore thumbs the Bordellos.
We must admit to having an unerring affection for the Schizo’s, their skewed almost lazily casual application of their craft recalls with increasing mindedness the much missed Jumbo who chipped in with a brace of albums and one of the best debut singles in recent memory at the fall of the 90’s before being reported MIA in the early 00’s. Not your average sun shine pop band, the Schizo’s often pickle and pepper their kaleidoscopic sound board with a street wise slacker hip hop-ula swing that hints of a finding of the psychedelic path to a 60’s sonic golden age forged through listening informed by the Beastie Boys rather than the Ramones et al with primal scream and super furry animals appearing to loom large on their sphere of influence to occupy a curious twilight hinterland that sits between the kind of groove adored in monsterism island flashes, psych freak outs and the elephant 6 collective (– best evidenced on one of the sets highlights, the delightfully off kilter and kookily detuned and hazily glazed ‘lotion chills beast’ which all once manages to shoe horn for itself a soft psych sandwich made up of a smorgasbord of Olivia tremor control, of montreal and homescience ingredients all flavoured and trimmed in to a hippy trippy magic bus take out). In short they are the equivalent of a sonic spliff – how on earth else could something like the stoned out carnival ‘beggin for shelter’ find its way to wax (okay to tape). Eleven cuts lurk on this self titled set, a fried loved up cornucopia of swaggering strut cooled groove as evidenced on the wiring call to arms head kick ‘make a stand’. Opening matters both ‘lake of fire’ and ‘her name is love’ emerge from the skewed haze like forgotten salvos from Walking Seeds classic ‘bad orb….’ set, the former a gnarled territory marker kissed in fuzzy hallucinogenic paisley hued scowls , the latter already mentioned and indeed adored in previous despatches, loose; fragmented and off its cake on the substance fumes emanating from a Fuzztones peace pipe. Somewhere else the teasingly brief mutoid ‘the pale horse’ tethers itself, or so it would seem, to freefall into the whole early 90’s Britcore crossover dance / indie scene. One of the welcome appearances here is a revisiting of ‘dream of the Portugal keeper – part 2’ which reveals the collectives tender side and gives hint that when the fancy takes them they can do mercurial pop like no other. This honey comes breezing into view cast upon an amorphous lazy eyed pastoral palette that you suspect these days may have been hoodwinked as their own by Beautify Junkyard, utterly enchanting. The same trick gets repeated though to briefer extent on the tear stained ‘photon overdrive’ – a silky mosaic of souring sepia strings which unless ears do deceive could probably sneak onto the grooves of Bowie’s ‘low’ and look none too out of place. Likewise bliss pop colossus ‘A.M. Story’ arrives teased in dizzying dream drifts of 60’s ghost lights occasioned by rupturing tides of shade adorned sky pop which had we not not known any better would have hazarded a guess it was some recently discovered previously secret studio tape of a fleeting meeting between Stereolab, Broadcast and Quickspace. While admirers of all things Doleful Lions and Pavement might well do yourselves a favour by plugging your ears into the lazy eyed dubie that is the parting shot ‘diesel dolphin’ even if only to sample the seductive momentary visitations of prairie gospel motifs and the occasional nod to Mr Young.
As to the Bordellos, for their part of the tape pact – eleven pretty little sores sit on their side of the cassette. Attempting to trace their sonic lineage is a more testing affair, I’m fairly certain I’ve gone on record in past missives in saying that at their worst they are merely great while at their best they can floor you, reducing grown men to tears with a writing craft steeped in majesty, none more so is the case than on ‘temperature drop’ found here reworked, indeed the same cut that found itself secretly being bestowed with the dubious honour of being the best track we’d had the pleasure of hearing in that golden year of 2013 when it loomed large on our listening loves list following its appearance on the bands ‘Ronco revival sound’ full length. We’ll just say it’s the best thing that never appeared on the teardrops’ immortal ‘wilder’ set. But back to reference markers, it’s fitting that we lay the sound like table – the Fall, Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese, Guided by Voices, Freed Unit, Velvet Underground and Julian Cope all veer into their crafted spectrum, of the current crop of ear candy alchemists current ploughing the backwaters of pop’s musical atlas, Of Arrowe Hill are without doubt their closest allies. So what makes the Bordellos such a favoured listening treat, in truth I don’t know – and that’s probably the reason, however they are a jack in the box Jekyll and Hyde in so much as you never know what Bordellos are going to come out to play, like their tape sharing buddies Schizo Fun Addict they can at the drop off a hat pull out a nugget that has you stopping in your tracks with jaw agape, like for instance, say, ‘melody inn’ – a slow burning smoking gun of shadowy seduction ghosting the darkly beautified romantic pathways of the Doors at their finest which all said would have most other bands shutting up shop considering job done on their pop career and no doubt off to live in some tax heaven on the ensuing royalty returns. Also special attention ought to be made of the harrowing ‘star light’ – a fragile and bruised beauty that resonates with the same dull ache that was brought to bear by Marr on the Peel session version of the Smiths’ ‘back to the old house’. Elsewhere the sparsely soft psych lilt that braids the grooves ‘hallucinations’ sounds for all the world as though its fallen off one of those critically cool one hit wonder compilations of 60’s lost souls the likes of whom find themselves name checked in those copious lists cobbled together by Vernon Joynson. Somewhere else there’s the rough n’ ready and admittedly rude ‘king of the bedroom’ finds the Bordellos in crooked off beat mood playing a kind of x-rated knock about skiffle blues bop that nods loosely to Lonnie Donegan albeit as though retooled by 10 benson while we must admit to a somewhat adoring affection for ‘the girl belongs to yesterday’ which aside coming oozed in harmonicas aplenty, is kissed with the kind of bittersweet autumnal haze that once upon a time draped and overcast the pop prettiness of Decoration.
As said the release through Small Bear Records comes in a strictly limited edition of 100 copies, each cassette hand numbered comes graced in artwork completed by Jet Schizo with each containing a cut up segment of a John Squire lithograph. 99 are available to the public- all sold out pretty much within days of release putting at the top of the bandcamp best seller list – however #1/ 100 – the master copy will shortly go on ebay as part of an auction to raise monies for save the children. This cherished item is the original test pressing cassette replete with the john squire hand signed lithograoh – numbered 54/250 and of course is the highly collectable 1/100 of the set. As though that wasn’t enough – the chaps at small bear have prepared a goodies bag that features a postcard with the track-listing to ‘Kassette’, a newsletter and a bumper gift of CD releases from Postcode, Clara Barker and Phil Reynolds and the Dearly Departed along with a rare as hen’s teeth CD variant of the forthcoming 50 only lathe 7 inch from Fruits de Mer featuring Permanent Clear Light and Ex Norwegian which is due to go on sale on Christmas day. All proceeds from both the cassette and the download go to save the children.