Saturday 18 May 2013

Flipron - Firework Shoes

Album review by

Where to start with this one? It's the fourth album by Flipron, but should you be new to them, here's a brief rundown: they formed in 2003 in Glastonbury and currently consist of four members. In the past their eclectic and often psychedelic pop has drawn comparisons to The Kinks, Sparks and Syd Barrett, and much of their work (including 'Firework Shoes') has been produced Rat Scabies, formerly of The Damned. With music that mostly recalls British eccentrics of the past (particularly the '60s and early '70s) it seems unusual that the lead-single from this album features Neville Staple from The Specials, but it seems this bunch are willing to give anything a go.

This they duly do on 'Firework Shoes', an album that best tackled by simply talking you through the quirky and unusual areas of music that they reach for on the record. With first track, 'Back Where We Started Again', you're not sure if they're about to launch into something by Sparks or ELO, but once the intro is over it's nearer to the output of the Harvest label circa 1971; the late Kevin Ayres would probably have approved. On 'Round And Round The Sun' it's almost as if they're playing along to a barrel organ; there's all the fun of the fair about this one, and 'The Big Red Button Must Never Ever Be Pressed' is similar and you're beginning to thing that these guys belong on the left-field side of Britpop but arrived a few years late. They're like The Boo Radleys in a parallel universe.

Organs swirl, lyrics are off-kilter, guitars are never far away and skewed-pop is the order of the day. 'Big Fat Blackberries' could be their 'Penny Lane' or, ironically, 'Blackberry Way'; it's unequivocally British. They even take us for what could be an old-fashioned pub singalong on 'The King Of All Our Crimes' (has anyone compared them to Chas & Dave yet?). Cheery '70s-style piano pop turns into a psychedelic track about strange unknown beings on 'Until It Gets Light'; perhaps they shouldn't have eaten those funny looking mushrooms. It's then that we get to the Neville Staple-featuring 'The Comet Returns' which sticks out a mile. It's quite unlike anything else on the album, but using the "sore thumb" analogy would be wrong as it's a definite highlight, somehow mixing two-tone, cinematic sounds from a Western movie and even what sounds like a sitar. It's a weird one alright.

They're not done yet though, and switch straight back into that unusual '60s pop sound on 'Superstition Has Its Uses', a song that plods along in an strange manner; 'Rose Petal Blues' starts with the line "Wake up you mangy young pigeons", which isn't the kind of lyrics you'd get from many bands, the rest of the song follows suit and shows that there's a lot of imagination at play here; they have a go at glam-rock on 'Low-Life Seeking Elevation' before changing their mind and mixing about another four genres in there too. Finally they end with 'The Lost Mountain Lake', taking folk music and updating it to at least, ooh, 1969 or so? It's a fitting finale. At first 'Firework Shoes' was slightly annoying, but once you get tuned-in properly to the dimension it exists in, you might just find a wondrous world awaits.

Flipron's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Sat 25 May 7:30 PM, The Boars Head, Kidderminster
Fri 31 May 8:00 PM , Glastonbury FM Fundraiser, King Arthur, Glastonbury
Sat 1 Jun 8:30 PM, Dublin Castle, London
Fri 7 Jun 8:30 PM, Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, FREE before 9/ £4 after
Sun 9 Jun 12:00 PM, Llama Festival, Lynton & Lynmouth, Devon
Sat 13 Jul 7:30 PM, The Prince Albert, Stroud
Sun 14 Jul 7:30 PM, Sunset Ridge Summer Party, Ham Hill, Somerset
Sat 7 Sep 12:00 PM, Clairefest, Ashwell
Fri 20 Sep 8:00 PM, The Cellars, Portsmouth
Sun 20 Oct 7:30 PM, Skamouth Festival, Great Yartmouth

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