A recent brief debate cropped up in a comment thread on our recent post about the band IO. You can see that post here and all it’s reader’s musings, but the main complaint was the lack of a distinct chorus within the tracks. Now for our tuppence worth we suggested that music doesn’t actually need a chorus, no more than every film needs a twist, but amongst certain genres or types of music it is perhaps expected, and particularly if you are discussing the brand of indie that IO create. Personally we didn’t think the lack of a connection between verses was a huge issue and it certainly didn’t detract from the experience, but with today’s recommendation the song structures, or a lack of them, are taken one step further. With this group from Cheltenham and their latest EP you not only have choruses removed, they’ve pretty much removed the vocals entirely! Admittedly, that in itself is not completely remarkable, as there’s plenty of instrumental music out there, especially with electronic genres like this, but the creations on offer here are so sublime they’re going to get every remark we can muster.
On a recent discovery hunt we found ourselves rummaging through the demos and promos we’d been sent, well, virtually rummaging anyway, which we guess is the modern equivalent. We were getting absolutely nowhere, having discovered not one band that we thought we loved enough to punt on these online pages. In fairness this is actually a rarity, as something always crops up during one of these spells, albeit sometimes after filtering through a mountain of absolute trash, but on this particular evening we were running into an endless number of dead ends. Generic, bland, cliche-ridden pulp made our hunt drag like we were back in a school detention, so we hit up our favourite 140-letter world, Twitter, and moaned to our 4500+ followers that there must be something better out there! As half-expected this cued a dozen or so tweeted responses from bands asking us to “check them out“, and claiming to be anything but bland. One of those tweets was from Hamstall Ridware, one third of the outfit better known as Sundae Club. To suggest our hunt for the evening was over was an understatement – this was a prize so awesome that it didn’t just feel like our patience had paid off, it felt like it had won the lottery.
For the second time this year, we’re having to break with a minor Recommender rule, (in which we prefer to cover emerging artists only), yet this trio have two albums already available, so you can rightly call that emerged, however our coverage is still likely to be an introduction to plenty of new ears, so we think it still worthwhile. What you’re going to get is a library of songs so fantastically fit for mining that you may well not see light for some time. No worries though as this trio create music with so much sunshine squeezed into it that this is one mine shaft where you’ll return with a tan. The three-piece seemed to have begun the project a decade or so ago, playing regular live sets on Sunday’s above a Pizza shop in Cheltenham, where they “larked about with synthesizers and old tat“, which goes some way to explaining their sound. Alongside the music they’ve created fictional characters behind the music, calling themselves Ray Cathode, Hamstall Ridware and Dr C D Mille. Theirs is a unique world all their own, but the doors are wide open and the warm, welcoming sounds drift out to entice all those wandering by.
Comparisons to The Avalanches and particularly to Lemon Jelly filter throughout their back catalogue, with a similar nostalgic mixture of ultra-British, witty and often eccentric, using a down right capricious set of samples and chocolate-smooth beats. Their music is too multi-faceted and their library of songs too plentiful to review on these pages in detail, but rest assured there are more ideas packed into ten seconds of a Sundae Club tune than most artists fit into an album. Their latest window into their world, with the Eclectic Electric EP, that arrived in the second half of last year, takes things slightly away from the usual big beats and finds them evolved into something more intricate and detailed. Synths take on a more Orbital-esque experimentation, particularly on opening track Picasso, with rain-dropped beats that skit over a wonderful shuffle, something they repeat on What About Martian?, which sounds like the discovery that Jean Michel Jarre was indeed from outer space after all, but where there’s a new darkness, such as on the sinister Spy Fly, we find it balanced with their usual lighter touches, as in the patient Or A Mix. It’s another remarkable example of their consistent skills and is a must for your most ponderous of afternoons. As we slide off back to the underground to re-kindle our search for (properly) emerging music, we couldn’t have come up for a more oxygenated blast of air. Thank you Sundae Club. (MB)
SUNDAE CLUB – PICASSO
SUNDAE CLUB – PEARLOID No5
SUNDAE CLUB – WHAT ABOUT MARTIAN?