“We’re working it out up here,” apologises [a]Cotton Mather[/a] singer Robert Harrison. “Give us a sec.” In a career that has taken a couple of years to get off the ground, another few seconds here or there are nothing for [a]Cotton Mather[/a].
Right now, things are defiantly on the up for Austin, Texas four-piece. With their debut album ‘Kontiki’ and recent mini-album ‘Hotel Baltimore’, things had been ticking along in a low-key way. Loved by a crack team of critics and pop oddballs, they seemed set for a life of obscurity, but now, touched by the hand of Gallagher (Liam‘s here tonight), [a]Cotton Mather[/a]’s career has been set on a whole new trajectory.
Already confirmed as Oasis‘ support on their European jaunt, if industry whispers are to be believed, they could well be the next signing for Big Brother. In a cynical way, it’s easy to see why. They’re Beatles fetishists to a man: ‘Aurora Bori Alice’ and the whimsical ‘Vegetable Row’ could easily have fallen through the run-out grooves of ‘Revolver’, but to abandon them as the new Gigolo Aunts would be suicidally uncharitable.
For here are a group that, transparent influences notwithstanding, are a fiendish force in direct impact pop music. Cross-references abound – ‘Camp Hill Rail Operator’ is a dead ringer for Todd Rundgren, ’40 Watt Solution’ could easily be a track from mythical great lost band the DB’s, while on more than one occasion, you’re convinced they’re about to play Neil Young‘s ‘Cinnamon Girl’. The songs constantly shift, with wandering time signatures and infinite variations upon the same simple melodies. This might explain why the vehemently un-cool-looking Harrison seems to constantly morph from Tommy Space to Alex Chilton and, in a certain light, BBC sportscaster John Inverdale.
Still, it’s all a testimony to the basic brilliance of a particular kind of song. [a]Cotton Mather[/a] are almost the most exciting new guitar pop band since Supergrass. For once in a season of madness, it seems that Noel Gallagher‘s judgement hasn’t failed him.