Veteran 4AD band take the Ramp;B road
He’s a curious man, Warren Defever. As the guiding hand behind His Name Is Alive, his magpie-like love for music has flitted from feathered ethereality to chrome-bright ’60s pop. Yet, while his obsession is undeniable – he once listened to nothing but ‘Good Vibrations’ for months on end – Defever’s infatuations don’t always translate into an affecting aural experience.
This time, his wandering eye has fashionably fixed on Ramp;B – unsurprising when you consider his quest for perfect modernist pop. Yet while ‘Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth’ highlights his abundant production skills, the sun-ripened voice of singer Lovetta Sharie Pippen sounds vacuum-packed and the slithering beats artificially preserved. ‘Nothing Special’ is TLC without the tenderness; the Radio 2-friendly ‘Karin’s Blues’ is as straight as the title while the lyrics of ‘One Year’ indicate an emotional depth – [I]”If you had a year to live would you know who you’d like to spend it with?/Would you like to be alone?”[/I] – lacking from the music.
When Jason Pierce and Bobby Gillespie attempt to make their futuristic soul, they sound entirely lost in music. Defever’s technological abilities give him a silver thread out of the labyrinth, leading him clear of emotion, fear, commitment. He sounds like a man who would like to be alone. It’s an easy wish to grant.