Get Well Soon – The Scarlet Beast O’ Seven Heads

...this LP draws heavily from the templates laid down by people like Scott Walker, or Argento, or Divine Comedy, where easy listening, film soundtracks and a light sort of disco froth form a rich, often queasy mix, like Baileys and brandy.

 

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This is a grandiose record, dripping with melancholy sentiment, bluster, and a little bit of preposterous conceit as well. Get Well Soon (known to his mother as Konstantin Gropper) has made similar records in the past, and just like those earlier efforts, this one draws heavily from the templates laid down by people like Scott Walker, or Argento, or Divine Comedy, where easy listening, film soundtracks and a light sort of disco froth form a rich, often queasy mix, like Baileys and brandy. With music of this sort there’s always the temptation to push towards something more intellectual, or pretentious. And of course that’s what we get. The titles are laconic and funny in a ponderous, smoking room manner; Let Me Check My Mayan Calendar, Roland, I Feel You, Courage Tiger), or portentous, (the Last Days of Rome, A Gallows). It’s heavy, brooding music that occasionally mutates into a type of cabaret pop as practised by the likes of Tony Bennett– as in (the kinky) Roland I Feel You. And did I hear correct? The Vivian Girls sing on Just Like Henry Darfer? Probably a joke…

Still, it’s a fine listen if you allow Gropper his muse, redolent of Left bank hypotheses, or over-budgeted Technicolor epics from 1960 or something. The opening track, Prelude, is akin to a stately palanquin gliding down some slumberous stretch of river. The aforementioned Roland I Feel You is fun too, and we get a moment of pure sugary beauty with Disney which has the same beautiful chord change as Nick Drake’s Fly. And once you get over your trainspotting tendencies (“ooh this bit’s just like Neil Hannon”, etc.), it grows on you, as you can buy into the songs’ content easily enough. There’s a fair amount of commitment from Gropper too, especially in tracks like Oh My! Good Heart and in the mock opera of last track You Cannot Cast Out The Demons, You Might As Well Dance (as you’d expect I suppose with a title like that): so it’s not just a musical version of the Emperor’s new clothes.

Oh, one final thing: it’s a long LP, so be prepared, and you may need to split up the listen whilst changing into your smoking jacket.