Short Songs 2
Andy Brown makes some time to enjoy the latest compilation from Vancouver-based DIY label, Kingfisher Bluez and wonders just how much joy you can fit onto one tiny record? He shares his thoughts for Louder Than War.
Now, this is a cool idea. Twelve songs squeezed onto a 7” record, all around the one minute mark. Short Songs 2 by Vancouver-based DIY record label Kingfisher Bluez is, as the title suggests, the labels second volume of incredibly short yet surprisingly satisfying songs. I seem to remember some punk labels having similar ideas yet Short Songs 2 is, overall, a distinctly DIY indie affair.
The compilation starts with the disarming Quiet Boy by Dew. “Quiet boy/ went silent on me” sings a gentle female voice over a simple, melancholy melody. Of course, it’s over in a flash and we’re onto the next track. Hlemmur Song by Glasgow’s U.S Highball manages to bring iconic 80’s jangle pop and The Byrds to mind all in the space of 62 seconds while Far by Non La is all lo-fi, ramshackle charm. I get the feeling that this is the kind of compilation where I’ll be investigating the bands own back-catalogues as soon as possible; each track serving as a tantalising teaser.
An ethereal melody drifts in with the arrival of Vancouver-based dreampop outfit, Luvgoon. The band provide one of the compilations definitive highlights with the crestfallen beauty of Alone. The track stretching out to a comparatively indulgent 1 minute and 27 seconds. I’m snapped out of my melancholic reverie by the sudden jolt of Left Outside by Canada’s J. Blissette. Lyrics are garbled over an impossibly excitable drum beat and dayglow synths. An album’s worth might be a little too much but nothing here goes much over the minute mark. British Columbia’s The This keep the pace with some indie rock ‘n’ roll and the immensely enjoyable Missed The Mark.
The twee-acoustic strum of Jules Rules proves to be a rather lovely introduction to Sacramento’s Rose Melberg; I just played it three times in a row. Leeds very own Living Body come next with the wonderful, I Do. The song takes aim at the ever-expanding, omnipresent tech companies that seem to dominate our lives and the fact that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has somehow managed to make a cool 76 billion US dollars in the first 5 months of the current pandemic. It’s beyond obscene yet the song channels this disgust into something quite euphoric. Epic, subversive pop and only 59 seconds long.
Marlaena Moore comes next with the dreamy 50 seconds of Hologram, it’s beautiful and it’s over way too soon. Thankfully, Moore released an album earlier this year so I’ll be giving that a spin later. The endearingly quirky pop of Dance In The Afternoon by Colin Cowan is followed by the unembellished lo-fi loveliness of Homemade Peach Wine by David Ivan Neil. That list of ‘bands I need to listen to’ seems to be growing by the minute. Nottingham’s 55 Deltic bring proceedings to a close with some brooding slowcore and one, filthy and unexpectedly heavy riff.
Melancholy moods, heavenly harmonies, clever arrangements, acoustic strums, the occasional burst of garage rock bluster and a satisfying list of new artists to go and listen to. Kingfisher Bluez have done a sterling job cramming all of this into 12 glorious minutes. Short Songs 2 seems to prove that less really is more. Give it a try.
You can buy Short Songs 2 from Bandcamp here
Buy I Do by Living Body here
All words by Andy Brown. You can visit his author profile and read more of his reviews for Louder Than War here