Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Shortwave Set – Replica Sun Machine


I’ve been waiting for this album for a long time – as noted in my previous post, almost three years. On the strength of a cracking little seven inch at the end of 2006, I half expected a new album to drop last year, but The Shortwave Set were obviously spending quality time in the studio with famous friends Brian Burton and Van Dyke Parks. They landed this enviable opportunity simply because Mr Mouse liked their debut album The Debt Collection so much that he invited Greenwich’s finest to support Gnarls Barkley and the rest is history…

Now that I’ve had a few weeks to listen to second album Replica Sun Machine, it’s that debut album which is still providing the sticking point for me. Because even though The Shortwave Set are still very much the same retro-psychedelic shape, even though the new album is packed with great pop songs, and even though the production is top-notch, there’s something missing. I think it’s because the production is just a bit too top-notch, a bit too clean-sounding. Part of the great appeal of the debut was its slight ramshackle nature, with sparkling tunes and a dash of whimsy. It wasn’t crisp, but its 60s psychedelic pop, complemented with a decent dose modern electronics was a joy to behold, and every song was a gem. The new one, for all the high-level input, the sweeping sting parts and general enhancement, is just not quite as magical. I wonder if they'll be describing themselves as 'Victorian funk' this time around.

That said, there’s still a lot to enjoy. The songs rattle along nicely and unlike many producers, Burton doesn’t impose a particular style. The band’s established sound is still very much intact and that makes me think that this is probably an album that I'll love more over time. I really hope that this is the record which brings the Shortwave Set the success that they so rightly deserve, and maybe then more people will re-discover their earlier classic.

Download: The Shortwave Set – Yesterdays to Come
Download: The Shortwave Set – I Know

Pre-order Replica Sun Machine from Rough Trade. And give yourself an extra treat by buying The Debt Collection.

Update: thanks to Soundbites, I now know that The Debt Collection is available to download, totally gratis from the Shortwave Set website. Now you've no excuse!

3 comments:

bill p said...

Have you heard the demos that are floating around the internets? Some of the same songs from RSM but maybe in a form we were more expecting.

The Daily Growl said...

I haven't heard these, but would like to... whither to go? (not on Hype).

viagra online pharmacy said...

Well I never hear about this guys, but I guess they are good, if say it like this, I'm gonna download it, thanks.