- by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2016-09-09 Label: Domino
Drugdealer is Michael Collins, who alongside Sasha Desree released the excellent Silk Rhodes album on Stones Throw Records in 2014.
The album, The End of Comedy could easily be dismissed as more 70s and 80s revivalism, but is actually far more. It’s so authentic it deserves its place on vinyl. It appear as if transported in a time capsule, not reconstructed by 21st Century hipsters gazing backwards through a looking glass. It's is a loving homage to music meeting at the intersection of psychedelia and adult oriented pop/rock., and also manages to reflect that cross-over without irony, bootlicking or sugar-coated whimsy.
There are many reference points. There’s the twangy faux-islander guitar of ‘The Real World’ sounding like a lost George Harrison track, or Natalie Mering (from Weye’s Blood) casually projecting her voice through bubbly piano-led music with jazz flourishes, a bit like Carole King, complete with shiny production standards. ‘Suddenly’ is typical of the songs dotted throughout ‘The End Of Comedy’, full of exquisite variations and night-time mood settings.
The End of Comedy is a well curated argument for the locus standi of tasteful AOR, and it prosecutes its appeal well. The well-judged pedal steel of ‘Easy to Forget’, or the madrigal of ‘Were You Saying Something’ creating a magical framework, augmented wonderfully by whirling keyboard patterns spinning 360 degrees across the sound spectrum. The multi-tracked vocals of the title track, again with Natalie Mering, this time recreating the Laurel Canyon / Joni Mitchell vibe complete with tastefully decorated trumpet filling out the track. Or the pastoral psych of ‘It’s Only Raining Where You Stand’ which shares a kin with Rubber Soul-era Beatles. Or the Lee Hazlewood swagger of ‘Sea of Nothing’ where the spirit of Syd Barrett lingers.
All brought to a close by muted trumpet, flute and vibraphone. Remember how much you loved Lilacs and Champagne a couple of years ago? Here you go. Another example of chilled-out mastery.