Friday, February 10, 2006

"While the siamese twins of hammer and feather caress"

"I could never compare one Cindytalk album to another,you know,come out and say,for instance,that this new one is the best ever,because they are apples and oranges.Each one is a different thing all together.But on the other hand,I do not know of any other band that has such a cohesive body of work.Four albums that fit together like one well-structured yet utterly spontaneous symphony.That said,I will now rave specifically about Wappinschaw.It strikes at once as being stunningly vital,daring (like you sit there,staring at your stereo on first listen repeatedly saying wow under your breath and making funny half-smile expressions...) but at the same time you wonder how you could have lived your whole life without these sounds playing.
Completely obvious and hugely startling.It begins with the most stark,rich,full,intimate,sexual,sexless,scary,cradle-comforting cover version I've ever heard-"The First Time Ever".Next are "A Song of Changes" and "Empty Hand" which,I've been assured,are the same versions from the "Secrets and Falling" EP,but sound somehow different in their new context.
The songs that follow are complicated and intuitive.Sounds and words from other albums wander in and out again,Alisdair Gray reads a bit of one of his novels,a siren-horn flips across your head,there are growls and drumsand trumpets and Gordon's gorgeous way of talking in "And Now in Sunshine",then this exquisite lullaby "Prince of Lies".
And then another sort of lullaby,"Hush",which contains one of my favourite moments on the record:as the vocal fades away,the guitar bit continues and several spoken samples weave in and out while the beginning of ten minutes of bagpipes fades in-it's pointless to describe,it's just a perfect moment.After a silence,of some minutes,the album ends with an invocation,"Muster"-an invitation not to recoil,beautiful contradictions."

Wappinschaw review,written by Annie for the fanzine
Tear Down the Sky 1995


flinnsky said...

Any story about Alasdair Gray reading the beautiful excerpt from Lanark on Wappinschaw ?

andyhtc said...

I think I was once told that Mr Gray read his piece over the phone to the recording studio. I was told that the studio clock could be heard ticking in the background, so I listened to it on someone elses decent stereo and there it was. After this, I got a better stereo and now I'm hearing the bits of cindytalk my other stereo couldn't reach. It's a pish story but a story non the less.

spaewaif said...

Oh,no,it's a GOOD story!

flinnsky said...

I like it too.
Thanks Andy ! :-)

belle_not_sebastian said...

it's a true story as well.despite the fact that it goes out of time with the "sweetness loop" (touched revisited),the clock ticking adds a nice element to the recording.i went to visit alasdair gray in glasgow a few months later with a tape of the finished album and a bottle of macallan single malt scotch.he immediately made tea and then proceeded to tear off the bottle top and pour the whisky into his tea.i didn't get the impression he "needed" to do this,rather that he just wanted to... i spoke with him on the phone some time later and asked his thoughts on the album,he said yes,er,the bagpipes are good,aren't they! i should have asked lanark or duncan thaw ;-)