I played the bass on this one but I'm going to write about it as
if I hadn't, because that's a lot easier. Plus, it's not like I
wrote any of it. Which isn't a disclaimer, by the way. See? It's
easy writing about stuff you've played on. Particularly when the
rest of the band might read it.
So (adopts neutral tone)... This album has already created a wee
bit of a stir, picking up some very favourable reviews and airplay
since its initial CD release in 2010.
Though the name Clang Sayne applies to any number of
collaborative projects involving singer and guitarist Laura Hyland,
Winterlands was recorded by a quartet that had worked pretty
Clang Sayne's music has often been termed 'avant folk', but it's
not really on the money as a description. Someone once described it
as 'AMM meets Joni Mitchell', which Laura hated, but at least iit's
Her songs are deceptively complex and intricate, their melodies
picked out by her nimbly intricate acoustic guitar and lithe,
expressive singing. Meanwhile bass, drums and guitar create a
restless, swooping backdrop of drones, soft, clicking pulses and
nautical clanging (6th form poetry alert), some of which is more or
less scored, some entirely improvised.
There is a distinctly nautical feel to the whole album (see
'Brigantine' and 'Shipwrecks' for the most obvious examples), but
it's not all drift; a couple of tunes threaten to rock out and
James O' Sullivan's electric guitar often gets feral and nasty.
Some songs are barely songs at all in the usual sense or are put
together, while others flirt with more conventional forms.
Comparisons have been made to people like Tim Buckley, late Talk
Talk and Sandy Denny, but they're really not on the money
(Abandons neutral tone) listening now after a long while and so
having a bit of distance from it, it does feel like we got
something quite special for about 70% of the record. Which isn't a
bad hit rate. And that the songs we were working with were all
Anyway enough of my yakkon', as Marty Di Bergi would say.
Have a listen.