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A review of...

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon by The Wave Pictures

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon
February 16, 2015
Adam Millard

The gist

A complete change of pace from Wymeswold's finest

The music

If you just count the Moshi Moshi stuff then this is The Wave Pictures' 6th album. Last year was a bit of a rarity for the band as they didn't release a "proper" one, instead opting to self-release their reworking of Daniel Johnston's Artistic Vice and collaborate with Stanley Brinks on the Gin album. Now they're back with an LP of (mostly) new material, albeit one that drastically deviates, perhaps for the first time, from the band's tried and tested sound. It was produced and co-written by Billy Childish who lent a load of 60s equipment to the cause which seems to have turned The Wave Pictures into garage rock/delta blues gods. The lyrics are still imaginative and witty, the guitar solo's are just as intricate, it's just that everything else has been taken up a notch. Franic Rozycki's bass is more direct, it even sounds occasionally distorted, and Jonny Helm's drums are somewhat crashing (he seems to have ditched the brushes altogether). There's even some female vocals on "We Fell Asleep In The Blue Tent" (courtesy of Juju Claudius), which i don't think I've heard on a Wave Pictures record since Instant Coffee Baby. The overall sound sits somewhere in the early 60s, before Rock n' Roll was cleaned up, and when the sub 3 minute pop single was seen as an absolute requirement. Perhaps playing within these constraints has focused the band into producing something much more forthright, and in extreme contrast to their last album, the excellent, but sprawling double LP City Forgiveness. One thing is for sure, The Wave pictures are absolutely brimming with a new found vitality, which also translates to their live shows (I saw them at a sold out Newcastle gig last week and they were at their very best). It will be interesting to see if this is just a detour, or a full blown re-invention, either way, you may as well get on board for the ride.

Listen to

"All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot" - a quintessentially dry Tattersall lyric is the hook on this fine track which is driven by a druggy repetitive garage groove.

"Katie" - has a retro groove not disimilar to The Band when they were still known as The Hawks.

"Green River" - the band embrace the swampy Delta on this Credence Clearwater Revival cover. This is the best of two Credence tracks which were reportedly included at the suggestion of Billy Childish.