It’s unbelievable that a crabby old listener like me can fall for this sugar-coated dream stuff: but I do.
Now I don’t know how the new Spilt Milk record, How To Perform a Funeral, is going to be released: Marc pressed two separate demo CDs into my hands recently, one with Brenda singing, and another - entitled Spilt Milk - which had been released by “hipster” magazine Subbacultcha!. Apparently there will be things from both added to the nascent album. Fair enough.
Spilt Milk is a six track package with Marc or Marc and Brenda doing vox, but I will say this before I go any further: good as the Subbacultcha! CD is, Another View (the CD with the songs showcasing Brenda), is unbelievable, shocking, revelatory. It’s the stuff that brings you out in goose bumps. The sonic template for both CDs is as normal for the band: laconic, drawling and deliberately rickety appropriations of late 19th /early 20th century poets, (Robert Frost, YB Yeats etc.), and as ever its great fun, charming and somehow (despite nabbing every lick Lou Reed used on White Light White Heat) sounding original. Happy Genius and No-one Left But God are great groovy knees ups, glorifying in their lo-fi sound. A Late Walk is a gentle strum, dissolving into nervous laughter at times.
Anyway, Brenda’s CD, let’s talk about that, or rather, rave about it. All the Tired Horses is a tremendous beginning, sounding like a lullaby sung by a fairy-tale character from the Nutcracker rather than a creaking old Dylan track. Take One Home For the Kiddies is a brilliantly affirmative appropriation of curmudgeon Philip Larkin, and Tea at the Palaz of Hoon is a dreamy, trippy stroll in the afternoon sun. Why Did You Go is a daft duet, sounding like Lee and Nancy trying something out over the kitchen table. But, and this is the thing to really remember, everywhere… everywhere… Brenda’s warm, soothing tones bring a golden aura to the recordings, conjuring up childlike reminiscences of things past and yet to come. It’s unbelievable that a crabby old listener like me can fall for this sugar-coated dream stuff: but I do.