Wednesday, February 01, 2006

". . . but those who will,will listen further . . . "

"Everything that is good and pure IN THIS WORLD is very quickly abused by people who try very hard to either bottle it up,and sell it,or to destroy it".
"Camouflage Heart" is a double-barrelled description of Gordon Sharp's emotions and feelings as well as being the name of Cindytalk's debut LP.Cindytalk is an idea fronted by Gordon and aided by John Byrne,with the addition of David Clancy for the duration of that album.
You may not recall his history with The Freeze,a band completely removed from the sound of Cindy which disbanded two years ago with two singles and a considerable Scottish following to their credit.But nobody could deny being seduced by his soothing interpretation of "Kangaroo",an indie chart-topping single that touched the hearts of many as part of the This Mortal Coil project.
With Cindytalk the story changes.On "Camouflage Heart",their only vinyl venture to date,the flowing,melodic singing voice that adorned TMC has changed,perverted and distorted into a variety of tones.Sometimes there are decipherable lyrics,but more often the voice produces emotional bellows becoming an instrument no electronic emulator could aqual.
"I don't believe I'm a singer,in the sense that I'm singing on Kangaroo,but that's not my DESIRE anyway",says Gordon."I prefer to use my voice to reflect what is going on in me at the moment.At the heart of Cindytalk lies a lyric,but that is the beginning.The most important thing about Cindytalk is the whole,the overall effect".
This overall effect is staggering.The album begins with a simple drumbeat,and then crushes any preconceptions with a grinding guitar.The sound leads you on,a dog on a leash being dragged through unchartered territory,confusing you with changing tempos and elusive atmospheres.
Throughout,your imagination is allowed to take its own course,but is kicked and thrown in opposing directions."The Spirit Behind the Circus Dream" may lull you into security,but the ragged battering of "Everybody is Christ" will shock you and leave you stripped of easy understanding.The pace changes again-"Disintegrate" with its slow chants and distinguishable lyric is like a retreating tide,leaving you washed up on damp sand.
The lyrics,the heart of Cindy,are camouflaged.When clearly presented they can be taken differently,depending on your mood.But more often they are covered,buried by the music.
"It's setting up a familiar ground and then taking it away.Which is what we are trying to do,to create an uneasy landscape that has a sense of familiarity in it,but not making it too readable so that you really,really work with it.I think that is one of the tricks with Camouflage Heart,because it is a playful record,a record that plays games with itself and the people who listen to it".
With a sound so encompassing and a record so disturbing,you may consider it a test of its listeners' reaction.But spontaneity and complete lack of an obvious path dispel any accusations of tricks being played on the public.It remains the result of 23 years' living,the feelings,observations and inspiration.But does the public want this much emotion in one album-will it be rewarded?
"People that are drawn towards it will hopefully sense that it is worth pursuing.And I think the record works that way.The heart and soul of the record is there.There's sensitivity in it,there's beauty in it,there's love,a hell of a lot of love and care in it".
"But there's also an awful lot of mess and agression there,so to get to the real heart you've got to wade through an awful lot of that.Therefore it's almost as though people that can't even begin to understand won't go near it,but those who will,will listen further and hopefully get something from that".

Melody Maker, January 19, 1985


a dreamlike song said...

It's good to see a photo of John Byrne!

spaewaif said...

BTW,"Splinter and move",a "Camouflage Heart"-era track can be found in the Midnight Music compilation "Between Today and Tomorrow".

if in doubt turn up the gain, said...

"splinter and move" was mainly a john byrne/gordon sharp track,with david clancy adding (great but) minimal guitar to was recorded live in david's bedroom at priory road,crouch end in early 1984
and if it wasn't for the shrieks of feedback from the microphone,it would have been included on "camouflage heart" for was thankfully rescued by the aforementioned midnight compilation.there was an interesting experimental noise track from late 1983 called "kiss the wiseman",written and performed live by gordon sharp david clancy and matt kinnison (16 at the time) but the tape of that has been lost to "storage & travelling"... sigh.

listen out for "splinter and move" on touchedRADIO at some point in the near future.