Thursday 31 January 2013

Á La Punk - Bedroom Tapes: Volume 1

Album review by

When it comes to the title of the album, the old Ronseal cliche fits like a glove; when it comes to the band name it's a different matter. Á La Punk is neither French nor a punk, he's a bloke from London called Danny who crafts DIY pop tunes to a very high standard. So these are home recordings and from what we can tell all the music and production etc. is the work of one man. There is history; Danny states that he's been involved with a band before who got to a decent level before label and management problems stopped them in their tracks without the project properly getting off the ground. So the recordings might be amateur in place of origin but not in terms of writing and general musical understanding.

A marriage of electronic glitches, synths, guitars and beats, 'Bedroom Tapes: Volume 1' is engaging from the off. 'Fuzzy' is simply a great alternative pop track in the vein of Super Furry Animals. Resting on laurels would be the option of choice for many from here on in, either that or more of the same due to lack of ideas, but Á La Punk doesn't stay in one place. He knows how to play several instruments and he enjoys different styles of music, so he makes use of both of these aspects. The album doesn't flit aimlessly and messily between genres, it's coherent and clearly all the work of the same musical mind. In short, he may not stick to a formula but the songs gel.

The odd catchy hook doesn't go amiss, and great examples can be found on 'Bring In The Guns' and 'Beat Damage'. There's a bleaker side to the album too, but a full wall of sound/fuzz is maintained at all times, as on the piano-led 'Insomnia Of The Soul' which is smothered in buzzing electronics, or the choppy bests and cluttered sounds of the downbeat 'Billboards'. He can do disturbed too; you may expect 'Brown' to be about drugs (especially as it precedes the song 'Soft Drugs') but it mentions murder instead before going a little bit country. 'Soft Drug' itself is gorgeous, defiant and finds hope in the face of despair, then the darkness returns on 'Sunshine Black' with it's lyrics about homicide and Prozac. If all DIY pop was up to this standard the internet would be a much nicer place to be.

Á La Punk's website

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