Saturday, 12 April 2008

Always On The Telephone - The Ladybug Transistor (Fortuna Pop!)

I love The Ladybuggers, but it took me a while to come to terms with their sixth album, ‘Can’t Wait Another Day’. Sasha Bell no longer numbers among the band’s line-up, which is a shame as I have a bit of a lady-crush on Sasha and her ice-cold mountain stream voice. The music sounds more mature, less psychedelisised. And by the time I had come around to the album, the time to write about it had passed. Here, though, is a single from that album and cripes! it’s a track I initially had a bit of a prob with. This is mainly due to the saxophone solo and my immature inability to cope with same. As Gruff Rhys once said, ‘I vomited throughout your saxophone solo’.

So the sax makes me flinch a bit. The guitars though…Ahh, the guitars are liquid and luxurious. They peal out over everything as underneath the song glows warmly, country-tinged and rueful. There’s a downy, soft-focus quality to it all, like squinting through sunspots on the windscreen, or rummaging through browning photos of a long ago road-trip.

I can’t comment on the sleeve artwork for ‘Always On The Telephone’ ‘cos my copy doesn’t have any, but the cover photography for ‘Can’t Wait Another Day’ is sumptuous. Two of the band sit in an old subway carriage coloured in deep reds and dark greens. It suggests a mahogany seriousness, a grown-up-ness that comes from travelling and learning and managing to make your way through life without keeling over. Inside, the sleeve has images of expansive landscapes, each one leading the eye and the mind away towards a central vanishing point. There are paths to travel, journeys to make, horizons to explore beyond. And that’s what The Ladybug Transistor sound like. A rich sound. And really rather gorgeous.

(P.S. Photo taken by me. On my birthday)

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