Thursday, 20 June 2019

Pi Ja Ma ‎– Nice To Meet U (2018)

Style: Indie Pop, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Bleepmachine, Cinq 7, Wagram Music, MPO

01.   Pixies, Sylphs And Fairies
02.   I Hate U
03.   Ponytail
04.   Vertigo
05.   By The River
06.   Radio Girl
07.   Tribulation
08.   I Oh I
09.   You And I
10.   Family
11.   Sugar Sugar

Strings  Conductor– Oleg Kontradenko
Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Programmed By – Axel Concato
Lyrics By, Music By – Axel Concato
Strings – F.A.M.E.'s Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra
Vocals – Pauline De Tarragon
Producer – Axel Concato

Parisian alt-pop lady Pi Ja Ma has racked up several million streams from her debut EP in 2017 and now with her debut album ‘Nice To Meet U’, her brand of French tinged pop-rock shines. 
As with many things Parisian there’s a timeless out of trend dreamy quality to Pi Ja Ma’s music. Opener ‘Pixies, Sylphs and Faeries’ encases this 60’s vibe with retro sounding drums, pointed country twanged guitars but with a modern day pop melody. It’s the mash up of these things trends that set the album apart from many others as Pi Ja Ma’s smooth voice croons over the top. ‘I Hate U’ pushes towards dramatic shoop-shoop pop with escalating guitar riffs and vintage string sections smothering vintage organs. It’s both catchy and full of life. ‘Ponytail’ mixes Caribbean beats with dance synths and 60’s rock strings. It’s outwardly joyous and bursting with smiles even if the lyrics themselves showcase a cleverly naive underlying panic. 
Vertigo’ moves towards the synth side of Pi Ja Ma’s sound spectrum as she plays a new wave / Tuneyards-esque cross over, whereas ‘Radio Girl’ plays with that rose-tinted 60’s surfer rock vibe with plenty of radio effects thrown in to do octopus dance moves to. Most of the album has a vibe to it which my mum refers to as ‘the ice cream lady at the cinema from the 70s charging around the isle music’. It’s part surfer rock in its guitar hooks and gritty feel, part Parisian rock in how everything has a watery flow to it (particularly the percussion which is always rolling and swaying) and restrained. 
A couple of tracks do pull away from the formula though. ‘By The River’ the token ballad on the album, although even that track builds up to a crescendo of rolling drums and guitar chords. The part instrumental ‘Family’ is like a bossa nova dance track made by Juana Molina. It’s really out there and full of creative sounds and mash ups – it’s my favourite track on the album. The closing track ‘Sugar Sugar’ is created like a mermaid paradise with lush flutes, layered backing vocals that remind me of Kadhja Bonet’s style of funky soul jazz and beautiful acoustic percussion that reminds me of fellow French songwriter Raoul Vignal. 
Pi Ja Ma’s mash up of vintage 60’s surfer rock, 80’s new wave tendencies and today’s pop and rock technology makes for an irresistibly heady concoction. As a completely new listener, I was hooked in immediately and found myself coming back to this album again and again – particularly when travelling. Highly recommended. 
Simon Smith / High Plain Music

The Waterboys ‎– Fisherman's Blues (1988)

Style: Folk Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Ensign, Chrysalis

01.   Fisherman's Blues
02.   We Will Not Be Lovers
03.   Strange Boat
04.   World Party
05.   Sweet Thing
06.   And A Bang On The Ear
07.   Has Anybody Here Seen Hank?
08.   When Will We Be Married?
09.   When Ye Go Away
10.   Dunford's Fancy
11.   The Stolen Child

Credits: Producer – John Dunford, Mike Scott

Mike Scott had been pursuing his grandiose "big music" since he founded the Waterboys, so it came as a shock when he scaled back the group's sound for the Irish and English folk of Fisherman's Blues. Although the arena-rock influences have been toned down, Scott's vision is no less sweeping or romantic, making even the simplest songs on Fisherman's Blues feel like epics. Nevertheless, the album is the Waterboys' warmest and most rewarding record, boasting a handful of fine songs ("And a Bang on the Ear," the ominous "We Will Not Be Lovers," "Has Anybody Here Seen Hank?," and the title track), as well as a surprisingly successful cover of Van Morrison's breathtaking "Sweet Thing." [Fisherman's Blues was reissued in 2006 with a bonus disc containing fourteen outtakes, alternate versions and late-night studio jams. The re-mastered original included extended versions of "And a Bang on the Ear" and "World Party."] 
Stephen Thomas Erlewine / AllMusic

The Waterboys ‎– This Is The Sea (1985)

Style: Folk Rock, Pop Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Ensign, Polystar

           This Is The Sea
1.01.   Don't Bang The Drum
1.02.   The Whole Of The Moon
1.03.   Spirit
1.04.   The Pan Within
1.05.   Medicine Bow
1.06.   Old England
1.07.   Be My Enemy
1.08.   Trumpets
1.09.   This Is The Sea
           Additional Recordings
2.01.   Beverly Penn
2.02.   Sleek White Schooner
2.03.   Medicine Bow (Full Length)
2.04.   Medicine Jack
2.05.   High Far Soon
2.06.   Even The Trees Are Dancing
2.07.   Towers Open Fire
2.08.   This Is The Sea (Live)
2.09.   Then You Hold Me
2.10.   Spirit (Full Length)
2.11.   Miracle
2.12.   I Am Not Here
2.13.   Sweet Thing
2.14.   The Waves

Written-By – Anthony Thistlethwaite, Mike Scott
Producer – John Brand, Karl Wallinger, Mick Glossop, Mike Scott

The Waterboys ‎– A Pagan Place (2002 Remastered) (1984)

Style: Folk Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Ensign, Chrysalis, Island Records

01.   Church Not Made With Hands
02.   All The Things She Gave Me (Unedited)
03.   The Thrill Is Gone (Unedited)
04.   Rags
05.   Some Of My Best Friends Are Trains
06.   Somebody Might Wave Back
07.   The Big Music
08.   Red Army Blues
09.   A Pagan Place
        Bonus Songs
10.   The Late Train To Heaven (Rockfield Mix)
11.   Love That Kills (Instrumental)
12.   The Madness Is Here Again
13.   Cathy
14.   Down Through The Dark Streets

Backing Vocals – Ingrid Schroeder
Bass – Anthony Thistlethwaite, Nick Linden
Drums – Kevin Wilkinson
Piano – Karl Wallinger
Saxophone – Anthony Thistlethwaite
Trumpet – Roddy Lorimer
Violin – Tim Blanthorn
Producer – Mike Scott