How weird. Feeding a Spotify addiction is a delicate task, and this time it was via nostalgic meandering around some youthful favourites. Rediscovering The Verve‘s druggy, droney, sprawling A Northern Soul was a thrill, and it sounds as happily wasteful, internal and expressive as ever.
And then here’s Erland and The Carnival – and look who’s listed #1, primetime and centre, on the list of band members: hello, Simon Tong, from The Verve. It’s an understandable decision – people will recognise his name over that of Orcadian Erland Cooper’s – but it’s Erland who perhaps ought to be taking just as many plaudits.
The songs he sings are sweet, gentle and kind, like the distant uncle you’ll make annual chit-chat with over Christmas. Songs like Was You Ever See have the soft, strange and remote feel of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci‘s nicest songs. Was You Ever See finds a golden, warm moment of life and commits it to song; fragile, thin, lovable.
Erland and The Carnival – My Name Is Carnival (UPDATE: Changed at record company’s request)
Songs like these are fairly rare – mainstream enough to connect, quirky enough to sate the defiantly left-leaning. There’s a lovely lightness of touch on their recordings – Simon Tong’s influence, maybe. Gorky’s almost made the leap to the big time, but were just that little bit too out there to entice the general public any closer. Maybe Erland & co. can land feet first. Here’s hoping.