My Computer - No CV
After a week where Londonist music had been beaten into sweltering submission by Mastodon, enjoyed the fine folk of The 18th Day of May in a Richmond garden and sprawled out to the stadium conquering brilliance of REM in Hyde Park, we needed something a little weird and wonderful to greet us for the Monday Music cd run down.
And lucky for us there was My Computer's No CV smiling at us under a plethora of Radiohead meets Jeff Buckley epithets. Now don't run off trying to do a Google search for My Computer unless you're up for some serious home pc geekery. For a band with such a 21st century name, they're suprisingly difficult (in fact we gave up trying) to track down on the net.
One could randomly and carelessly stipulate that it could be down to diagnosed depressive Andrew Chester's desire to jump out of the way of the spotlight but after this stunning and often painful disection of his failing relationship it may not last for long.
The track listing alone should give you an indication of what state of mind we're in: Lonely, Dig A Hole, The Boy I Used To Be, Pulling Myself Together,
Lonely opens up proceedings with a caterwaul of screaming punk grunge guitars being kicked in the arse by a relentless drum beat. Chester screaming lonely lonely lonely lonely over and over. The kind of song Craig Nicholls of The Vines might have written had he been English. And then all of a sudden it drops into a haunting classical piano. We probably need to enlist Londonists Greg to help with this - he's the cultured one down here in the dungeon - but is it a fugue? Sounds a bit like the theme from the Deer Hunter.
Stumble with it's smokey bar blues piano and Chester's waivering voice is the first track to make you go Jeff Buckley, oh yeah.... It's a lazy summer's day breeze, drifting over a muggy hangover The chorus a languid Beatles-esque psychadelic drawl. If it didn't contain the line take me away there's no place for me here anymore it would be the perfect soundtrack to a sloppy Sunday smooch, the kind when you're still in bed after the end of Hollyoaks.
Next up is Dig A Hole, a disconcertingly danceable culture clash of electro pop and 70s rock squealing. Let's just say it's not about burying treasure or sinking a well. And then the album takes another of it's many about turns to do a Middle Eastern thing, an Arabian Primal Scream if you will.
It's not just John Leckie's production that draws the Radiohead associations. The floating orchestration and synthised squalls running through Life is reminiscent of some of OK Computer's darker moments but the gentle drone of a Hammond organ recalls the heyday of British pop: smartly cut suits and carefully clipped barnets.
Steve's Critique is a short conversation about the use of a trumpet in a song over woodwind and strings and feels like one of those odd vocal fillers on old Floyd albums like Dark Side Of The Moon.
The military drum tattoo that kicks off The Boy I Used To Be quickly morphs into a frenetic fusion of Middle Eastern musical Krautrock prog rock classical folk influences that's far more Muse like in its bombastic epic scope than Radiohead, Chester's voice sounding not dissimilar to Matt Bellamy's as he spews the words: Fuck you fuck you fuck you all.
Chester's warning to the world Don't Go Where I've Been mangages to pull off the not inconsiderable task of making a song that touches in the discordant electronic beats of someone like Aphex Twin with a string section, a Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) style vocal and a gentle Britpop 05 outro.
You might by now be getting the idea that this is an album that doesn't like to sit still and it's one of the reasons we've really taken to it. There's enough diversity of sound here to keep pretty much anyone listening at some point or another and their ability to prevent the album from turning into a paranoid self-indulgent mess is testament to the quality at work It's the other half of this Mancunian duo, David Luke, who apparently deals with the general twiddlings and noise making. So he's responsible then for the tranquil jazzy beats that accompany Some Chemicals, a gentle ode to addiction. In many ways this is a perfect summmer album with it's often slothful, muzzy feel. As long as you don't listen to the words.
Crystal Clear has a rocky soulful Isley Brothers vibe to it, Hammond and all, whilst Chester does his Buckley Bellamy voice thing again. It follows into Over You, which is clearly a misnomer. The song rising into a good old guitar solo and Chester intoning: I just can't get over you whilst the instruments simply unravel themselves at the end leaving a lone tinkle on the piano keys.
So it'll be absolutely no surprise then to hear that Pulling Myself Together opens with an Air style sampled vocal sitting over a gently jaunty Lemon Jelly-esque English Country Garden picked guitar. It's soft and fluffy with occasional spikey bits, like an ice cream that's been dipped in broken glass. One remians unconvinced that Chester is indeed pulling himself together and the piano rises and falls as if accompanying a silent movie. But just as the hero is about to save the girl and untie her from the train tracks it goes all Idiotheque on you, the villain leaping out from behind the rocks to bring certain doom to our hero. Who wins? You decide because suddenly there's a mournful beat backed Spanish guitar to round things off and we've lost track of our own analogy. That'll learn us.
There's just time for the only real update beat track on the album which is a good thing as we hate to end on a downer. Heart is a love song to the eternal power of song that's probably intentionally sat on a melody not unlike You'll Never Walk Alone.
If you sing, sing, sing,
let it come from your heart
And before you've even begun to embrace it as the heart warming, cameraphone waving, stadium anthem it might be, it's over.
So just the one review today but we kinda dig this so thought we'd spend a while with it. As you should. The awesome No CV should be bought at once, but if you remain unconvinced, oh ye unbelievers, then you can listen to it courtesy of those nice folks at the NME.com.