Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Everything Goes Crazy Blue

AR Kane - Baby Milk Snatcher
There was a lot of bitterness about the indie "sell out" in the 80's. Since a lot of what passed as indie at that time was based on templates from the 60's, (Revolver-era Beatles, Byrds, Velvet Underground), it was inevitable that fashion would come around and at least some aspects of the scene would pass back into the mainstream. To complain about it was as pointless as standing at a bus stop and then moaning when the number 22 turned up.

A R Kane were one of the bands that managed to sidestep the templates available, perhaps referring only to the Velvets in their use of squalling noise.

The desperate attempt to try to make them fit into what was about saw them described as "The Black Mary Chain", which was both wrong and insulting.

Some critics who were genuinely trying to sell a band that deserved recognition came up with "Dream Pop" and "Oceanic Rock". They put them in with the Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Butterfly Child and Bark Psychosis. It was worth a go, but the public weren't buying.

Listening back to "69", their first and best album, the pointers are more towards the quiet bits of electric Miles (the last track is called Spanish Quay 3, referring to a track from Bitches Brew), zammed out psychedelia and most definitely towards the glorious Throne of Dub, before which we should all genuflect. Oh, there's a whole heap of Cocteaus echo on the guitars, too. This is a 4AD band that happened to get signed to Rough Trade.

Given all this, you may be surprised to hear that the album is full of songs. Chords are replaced by ghosts and murmering, the drum machine skitters about, things erupt and swallow lyrics whole. But the voice is still way up in front, the music an accompaniment. Rules are followed, but they are painted vivid colours and caked in clouds. Well, sometimes the rules vanish down a rabbit hole for a while, leaving you gawping like some geek at Woodstock.

"Baby Milk Snatcher" gives you a good idea what they were up to, God bless them. But you really have to track the album down to get the full glory of something that was never, ever going to be sifted into anything for the top ten.

To conclude - this record altered my brain. Goodnight.

Buy - AR Kane - 69
Visit - AR Kane Fansite

Visit - Julian Cope's Head Heritage, a stupid amount of record reviews and a lot of fun from The Archdrude himself.


No comments: