so old fashioned it should play at 78rpm
“The old ones are always the best.” That’s a phrase my mother has said to me on a number of occasions – usually when I mention I’ve been to see a band and it’s somebody she’s actually heard of – and it’s a phrase that I think Mr Gibbs would probably agree with me on. This album sounds so old fashioned it should play at 78rpm. You should also look at it through sepia tinted glasses too because My Fellow Sophisticates oozes old fashioned, deep Southern charm and you should dress in smart attire out of respect before you handle it.
William F. Gibbs hails from Alabama and, like Belfast’s Duke Special, is obviously MADLY in love with old fashioned noise. My Fellow Sophisticates bristles with cracks, crackles, scratches and even the occasional hiss. Not only that, but it contains some of the happiest, most uplifting music I’ve heard anywhere this year – you really don’t need to turn up the BPM to have a good time.
There are trumpets, trombones, handclaps, tambourines, toy pianos and even something called ‘Synthetic Textures’ – What is that? Somebody stroking a nylon stocking? – floating around this album and they all create a magical atmosphere. It helps that Gibbs has the voice many people wish Tom Waits had too because this type of sleazy, night time blues normally makes you realize that you’re sat in a late night bar drinking whisky, watching the rain outside and wondering where your life went wrong and why your girlfriend has just run off with your best mate. Whereas this makes you realize that you’re in a late night bar drinking whisky, watching the rain outside and then realizing that you didn’t really like your girlfriend or your mate that much anyway, that there’s another few hours left before the bar closes and the place is full of drunk, easy women. In other words, it may not change your life, but it will make you feel better, at least for tonight. And hey, what more do you want from an album?
Words: Damian Leslie