The Wave Pictures The Wave PicturesSusan Rode The Cyclone
The creative incontinence of these three musicians from Wymesmold (the tiny village in the English countryside where the members of The Wave Pictures grew up) have just added a new reference, called “Susan Rode The Cyclone”, to their long but hard-to-find catalogue (before their noisy debut album “Sophie”, around about 2006, and really officially two years later, with that fabulous ode to the girl with the instant coffee, “Instant Coffee Baby”, they had put out five albums as CD-Rs, which can’t be found today). The new album is limited to 699 copies and a single format (coloured vinyl, a different colour for each label - the Spanish Acuarela, the German Little Teddy, and the Italian Interbang). All the album is lacking is a dedication to “all of those who have always been there for us.” Because what “Susan Rode the Cyclone” brings together are ten songs (ten hits, always in The Wave Pictures key) that their fans know very well (at least those who have seen them live more than once). So we could say that although it might work like the band’s third seriousshot (the forgotten “Sophie” aside), although in reality it’s the ninth, it could also be an indispensable B-side album. Indispensable? Aha, there is no kryptonite to spoil the sweet surrender of “Blind Drunk” (seventh cut, or second song on the album’s B-side, an honest lo-fi folk exercise) or the electric shot of “Cinnamon Baby”, something like the evil opposite of “Avocado Baby”, the main cut of what was until now considered the band’s peak album: “Instant Coffee Baby”. This album is the impossible meeting between what they owe The Modern Lovers; what the post-grunge of The Veils has to do with the 80s pop of The Smiths ; and The Mountain Goats abandoned to their (bad) luck.
Returning to the songs, in fact, “Cinnamon Baby” and “Blind Drunk” each perfectly represent the side of the album that they appear on (A for the first, B for the second). Because if we could bet, we might not lose anything betting that if it’s an album of discarded songs, the first five cuts (those on the A-side) come from forgotten sessions of “Instant Coffee Baby”, and the second five (side B), from discarded sessions of “If You Leave It Alone”. “If You Leave It Alone” was the band’s latest reference until now, by any reckoning a deceleration or country-folk turn from the agitated and -why not- groovy new wave of their first proposal (Converse trainers, plaid shirts, cigarettes, beer cans, and (yes) adolescents who grew too much, wanted to become writers, and ended up humming songs in their parents’ Jensen Interceptor and getting together on Saturday afternoons to play: all of that is “American Boom”, for example). The Wave Pictures are what John Darnielle’s group (yes, The Mountain Goats) dream of becoming some day: lo-fi without additives or preservatives, pure nerve abrasive (glam) pop, flashy basses and riffs ( “Throwing Words” or the album’s first high close) and lyrics that -what the hell- are among the best of the decade that’s coming to an end.
But let’s not forget where these kids come from. In the first place, from a village with one thousand inhabitants. One thousand. Imagine the evenings in a town with one thousand inhabitants, without a guitar. David Tattersal couldn’t do it. Franic Rzycki and Johnny Helm either. That’s why even though they weren’t famous, they recorded album after album (Tattersal’s facility for composing twisted, naughty, ironic, and almost never sad songs with stories is astounding), and organised live sessions (they went to class, painted houses, and in their free time, played at one of the maybe three bars in their town) until they moved to London and met Darren Hayman ( Hefner) and André Herman Düne. Then it was all downhill. They recorded “Sophie” and then they became one of the bands of the year (2008) thanks to “Instant Coffee Baby”. A year later (2009) came the sequel: “If You Leave It Alone”, and now this. A poetic, sleepy, playful album ( “Sweetheart” is undeniably a post-(Brit) pop treat) that is nothing more than another good album from this trio from Wymesmold. This makes nine. Laura Fernández