Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Bill Wells - Lemondale

Bill Wells, latest album "Lemondale" is a fine collection of classic Parisian Jazz sounds, with an added Avant-Gard post rock sensibility.  Lemondale was recorded in Tokyo in one day and features 14 musicians, including members of the local vibrant underground scene. Namely former Sonic Youth member/producer Jim O'Rourke on guitar.

The album flitters comfortably between sprightly Left Bank, cafe-culture, and dark lingering laments. While all the tracks have a soundtrack or film score element within them. "Toon City" evokes visions of a Film-Noir, Gumshoe, anti-hero, silhouetted in the shadows as the rain pours down on mean Parisian streets.  The rather more contemporary European feel of post rock originates Sterolab, is audible on "Harvest Bag" and "Courtin' Love""Invade The Pitch" is a beautiful lingering composition of weaving brass, ticking all the classic jazz boxes as it goes.

"Effective Demand" is perhaps the standout track on the album combining all the post-rock and jazz elements into one fun-filled package. Unfortunately the vocals on "Mitzu Tori" sound like a scratchy Japanese karaoke run through of a Shirley Bassey song.. Which is a pity because the music is quite good. The album's title track and closing number "Lemondale" is a bizarre reimagining of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" which adds nothing to the 1967 original by Procul Harum.

Despite these few minor blips Lemondale, is a fine collection of highly listenable and vivid compositions, expertly executed by a stellar cast of musicians. And offers a welcome distraction from the world of cardboard guitars and pointless copy and paste pop-stars.

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