The Catenary Wires - Birling Gap LP
Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey love pop songs, but pop songs with an edge.
With their early bands Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, they were often dismissed by critics of the time as fey or ‘twee’, but this prejudice has since been revised: some of those sweet fizzy songs were about date-rape, and the band were an influential part of the movement that became riot grrrl.
On their new album "The Catenary Wires", the songs are as strong as ever, full of sweet melody and rich with vocal harmonies. But the tunes are now vehicles for startlingly honest adult concerns: the fractured relationships, anxieties, passions and politics of people who live on an island that’s turning in on itself. Like the Go-Betweens and XTC before them, The Catenary Wires know that pop music can convey dark, sardonic, complex emotions, just as well as it can celebrate teenage angst.
The album depicts England, not just in its lyrics, but in its music. The Catenary Wires have listened to the songs and stories England has comforted itself with over the decades, and re-imagined them. Canterbury Lanes presents a duetting couple, old now and worn down, but still aspiring to put their folk band back together, hoping to rekindle the idealistic flames of the early 1970s. Mirrorball, fizzy with syn-drums and Casio, presents another couple – middle-aged and unattached, who find unexpected love at a retro 80s disco. In the 70s-flavoured pop of Always on my Mind, love appears again, almost by surprise, conjured up by an old photo in a pile of memorabilia.
The opening track, Face on the Rail Line, is a love song set in the now, full of emotion, but shot through with the paranoia that we all feel, living at a time when we are constantly in contact, but rarely communicate the truth. The last two songs on the album, Like the Rain and The Overview Effect, are anxious romances, set in a fragile world.
1. Face on the Rail Line
3. Always on My Mind
5. Three Wheeled Car
7. Canterbury Lanes
9. Like the Rain
10. The Overview Effect
About this product: this is pressed on clear vinyl.