His Sweet Surprise - Wishing on a Photograph
His Sweet Surprise is one Paul Gogarty and Paul Gogarty is a fearless performer. You will remember him for his previous work, principal among which was his latent classic “Fuck You, Deputy Stagg” performed live in Government Buildings (and gaining added infamy by garnering half a million hits on The You Tube). It may seem churlish to refer to the artist’s previous job of TD when referring to his current incarnation as Pop Saviour, but he seems to be trying to create his own legend based on his Oireachteas performance. His press release reduces his entire political career to this one, defining moment. Although Mister Gogarty’s non parliamentary language was unbecoming, there was no doubt that it was a refreshing change from the usual bollix that emanates from our country’s seat of power. Although, it’s as if there was a further, hidden depth to the whole palaver; some fairly previous pre-publicity for a nascent pop career that Gogarty was already thinking hard on. Become infamous now, release watery pop later. Genius! A reverse Dana! Let’s face it, the Green Party was doing fuck all effective in government so why not transfer those powers of defeasible leadership to insidious “celebrity” television and flimsy pop muzak?
But what of the music, Wishing on a Photograph? Well it starts out Something Happens lite. Imagine going lite-r than that. It’s like watered down water. Then launches, sorry “launches”, into a sub-Wonderstuff chorus. It’s from a different era, back when Gogarty was young, his t-shirts had holes in the armpits and patchouli oil was still current. Had it come out in 1991, he could have given Blink a run for their money. But then, he’d be working in a pizzeria now and we’d never have had that famous outburst. It makes me wonder where that infamous abrasiveness has gone? The quick wit? The way with words? The intensity of delivery? Perhaps Emmet Stagg should produce the album, with a gun on the desk, and eke out something akin to passion from this flaccid jack of all trades.
Loch Ness Mouse – The Jazz Mouse E.P.
Cork’s Arkhangelsk Recordings specialise in “limited, custom made 7 inches with accompanying original artistic compositions”. Thank god for that, because all we’ve had up to now is people who put out “records” with “artwork”. The Jazz Mouse e.p. is from Oslo’s Loch Ness Mouse (which features, worryingly, the word fusion, in the press release) is one such limited edition disk, featuring art from Cork resident Lana Gray.
Ask Him is a weird hybrid, jazz sax and Fender Rhodes, fronted by a monotonic vocal backed with a Motown-y chorus in the background. While it grows into a Wannadies kind of rock, it maintains the tinkling and parping. Side 2, Kunming, is like Sonny Rollins joining Supertramp for a “jam”. Once you take out the odd juxtaposition of an almost straight up pop number hammering away under the jazz, you’re left with jazz and the problem with “doing” jazz music is that you draw comparisons with other jazz musicians, and frankly, there’s better ones out there you can listen to. I’d do a list, but the wordcount would bankrupt Thumped. Side one was pretty interesting, side two, less so.
Alaskan – Come Summer With Me E.P.
Alaskan is the nom de plume of one Connor Mills, and Come Summer With Me is the self-released debut disk, recorded in a time machine in Letterkenny: A portal to the mid nineteen nineties, a time when peoples pants came up to their nipples and everyone was sporting a “Rachel”. In the background, producers, remixers and djs were releasing music like this. It’s like the added bit to the K & D sessions, or a Biosphere cast off. Washy, crystalline synth noises, swells of laid back melodies abound. Alaskan meddles in various beats and rhythms, throwing in echoey samples, children’s voices, the odd yawp here and there. This is chill out music, for the bean bag and the bong, with the title track, and it’s slightly more insistent, non-somnambulant beat, as the stand out track. The songs are all quite short, which means that this 7 track e.p. fairly flies past, tunes don’t outstay their welcome, but neither do they stand their ground, put down roots, involve us in the repetition of choruses. As such, they seems less of songs, more interludes, or a soundtrack to a summer’s day with a Pimms discussing the upcoming World Cup in France. But then, that was a good time, and there’s flashes of beauty within this little record. All we need to really enjoy them is an Actual Summer.