Lace Curtains - The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness

by Al Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-07-25

There will never be a new Velvet Underground LP, but isn't it strange people don't try to make one? I mean maybe it isn't weird, maybe it's perfectly natural: the Velvets are the sacred cow; the place where style and substance became inseparable and irrelevant. So why even try to crash that party? You know you're not cool enough anyway. The Strokes, for example, were 'like' the Velvets; but their sleaze was fake, if it came across at all. They confessed their love of Loaded in NME, and Lou Reed laughed in their faces, as they must've known he would.

Lace Curtains is the new band/project from Michael Coomers of Austin lo-fi heroes Harlem, and, transplanted to New York, he wears his love of The Velvet Underground on his sleeve. The first line of the first song goes "

stop writing songs about me/ I'm not to be taken literally" - a self-aware and self-confident gambit. The song is going to have to be good to get away with that level of cheek.

And give him credit; '

' or 'Train Round the Bend' as anyone has come in 40 years, and I'm fairly sure those are nobody's favourite Loaded cuts. 'Grey' is the kind of Ariel-Pink-cod-reggae-k-hole which is hard to get into, at least in a sober state.

A strong mid-section encompasses the sleepy 'Adidas Moon', which is reminiscent of Elvis Perkins at his most melodic; 'Tropic of Cancer', which combines summer holiday memories with a healthy dose of existentialism (like Harlem's excellent '

' is the last of the trio of songs that Coomers self-leaked in the run up to the album's release, and just as great as the other two. It's a triumphal ode to a whirlwind relationship where the lyrics veer from lust to love and back with euphoric hilarity: "Took a picture of cum on your bed/ Like young boys do!" He blurts out in the verse, but in the chorus: "It was love/ uh-huh."

You might have worked out by now that the thing that makes The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness legit is that it isn't some self-defeating quest for new frontiers in music, or some dry, pseudo-intellectual meta-pop - let's face it, anyone can do that. It's about feelings and empathy and all that old-fashioned shit we're not meant to spend much time discussing for fear of being branded rockist Neanderthals. Coomers sounds genuinely fucked up: addled, sad - a closet romantic who's been near-destroyed by his own decisions and the city that surrounds him - and of course he's also aware of the ridiculousness of being that person.

Above all, he's got a voice and a persona you can form a meaningful relationship with, and that really shouldn't be such a rare thing in music. Not now, not ever.

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