May 24, 2013

Today's Hotness: Joey Fourr, English Singles

Joey Fourr -- Wooden Grooves (detail)

>> Maybe, just maybe, the Internet can help perpetuate mysteries, despite the regular bemoaning we hear from oldsters about the fabled age when much of what was known about underground acts could only be gleaned via rumor or a hard-to-get 'zine. Take, for instance, the latest pleasingly spooky enigma from Joey Fourr. Readers will recall that moniker is the nom de rock of Joseph Prendergast, erstwhile fronter of the late, great Tubelord. Fast on the heels of a series of five EPs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) issued over the last 10 months, Joey Fourr returned early this month with the new tune "Wooden Grooves," a contemplative, pulsing number fabricated from open synth drones and icy, layered melodies. We reviewed here Art Is Hard's Pizza Club single featuring Joey Fourr way back in June 2012. While that track, "Cross Dresser," was a fast-paced, low-fidelity rocker, this new effort aims for more hazy and narcotic territory. With its airy, meandering intro, "Wooden Grooves" calls to mind sedate space rock along the lines of that concocted by Arc In Round or even Flying Saucer Attack. As Pendergast's multi-tracked vocals materialize in the stereo field, and forlorn guitar strums drive the rhythm, it becomes apparent that one could even draw a parallel to the moodier, more atmospheric numbers off of Lilys’ spell-binding 1995 collection Eccsame The Photon Band (a quite relevant comparison -- look no further than Arc In Round's contribution to Clicky Clicky's And I Forgot A Long Time Ago How You Feel compilation). The hushed, funereal tone, hints at dream-pop and blurry sonics enable "Wooden Grooves" to strike a firm contrast against "Cross Dresser;" it certainly evidences a broader palette and we think proportionally broadens the appeal of Joey Fourr. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Joey Fourr suggested the possibility of taking a break: "This might be our last gig for a while... After Cardiff I'll be concentrating on writing/releasing a new project which I can't talk about yet but it's gonna be ridickulous..." We’re glad that, for now anyway, Joey Fourr is keeping the mystery alive. Stream "Wooden Grooves" via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Edward Charlton

>> English Singles broke the metaphor machine. This reviewer tried desperately to compare the timelessness of pristine power-pop to that of fine wine, but, guess what? It didn't work out. Because, unlike the tradition and spirit of Sacramento, CA's English Singles and their swinging, recently issued third single "Ordinary Girls," even the finest vintages and varietals will one day degrade. The resolutely buoyant "Ordinary Girls," on the other hand is built to last on the bedrock of pop brilliance. The tune is part of a three-song 7" out now on the venerable Slumberland label, and it continues the fine tradition of pop classicism forged previously by legendary groups such as The Television Personalities and modern antecedents like the defunct D.C. unit Julie Ocean. Quite simply, English Singles revel in the joys of innocent '60s and '80s DIY pop. The recording might fuzz and crackle at the edges, but at the heart of it lead singer Scott Miller's playful, everyman melodies deliver an irresistible charge. Prickly twelve-string guitar leads and callipygian bass unite for a powerful and punchy attack. The chorus is so strong that the band mostly just keep swinging around to it, but the best part happens at roughly the two minute mark when complementary female backing vocals join in to repeat the titular chant. With only three short minutes of music, both the band (and Slumberland) hit it out of the park. Buy the 7" right here. -- Edward Charlton

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