Thursday, 21 July 2011

Redwood Thinkers - 'Fade So Simple' Review

Redwood Thinkers
Fade So Simple

Summer’s here, which means that not only is it festival season, but there are also all manner of villages galas, summer fetes and such like. Yours truly was in attendance at one such event recently, a beer festival in aid of my old scout pack (I’m guessing Redwood Thinkers enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage as they thoughtfully included a bottle opener / key ring with this CD.) where for the majority of the day we sat outside, enjoying the weather and a range of brews. As the sun set and temperatures dropped we headed inside the scout-hut where we continued to enjoy a range of brews! An acoustic duo played a set in the corner of the venue, although I suspect if you’d asked any of my fellow drinkers what they thought of them they’d probably have replied “What band!” I can easily imagine Redwood Thinkers playing similar events and garnering a such a reaction.

“Fade So Simple” is on one-hand an impeccably performed and produced effort, on the other it’s such an ‘easy-listen’ that it actually began to irritate me. In fact I nearly flung it out of my car window when the song “No-one Looks Happy In Cars” came on. As someone who cycles to work quite regularly and then proceeds to monitor the North East’s motorways for 8 hours plus I would agree that a lot of motorists look pretty glum. However, I had been enjoying that days drive until that point (Mental note, I should have stuck to the Turbonegro CD I’d been listening to previously!) Somewhat bizarrely the next song, “Falling Down”, starts with the words “Take a car”, talk about mixed messages!

Having established that “Fade So Simple” does not make for good driving music I then attempted to listen to the album whilst doing the dishes. Suffice to say I didn’t make it all the way through. It took something approaching masochism for me to finally sit through all ten tracks in one sitting (During a coach trip with my earphones in to block out the driver’s skipping CD!). There are hints of Kate Bush in Kezia Roberts’ vocals, but her frequent repetition of vague emotional sentiments such as “But no one can deny this feeling, this feeling, this feeling etc” during “This Feeling” and “So nice to meet you, so nice to meet you, etc” on “Burnt” would have had me checking if the needle was stuck had I been listening to this on vinyl. I would say that “Chemical”, with male vocals akin to Eddie Vedder and a whiff of ‘grunge-lite’ is one of the few songs that doesn’t rile me. Closing final track “Worship The World” with a ‘funky’ bass workout, organ flourish and drum solo, seemingly in an effort to showcase the musician’s talents one last time, however, set my blood boiling again!

In the interests of professionalism I have listened to the album again whilst typing these words, an experience which has left me desiring a nice cold beer to relax with, now where did I put that bottle opener?

Andrew Whittaker

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