lunedì 15 giugno 2009
Eggman "First Fruits"
La recensione che leggerete qui sotto è sicuramente di 1 adoratore di Sice. Davvero commovente. Quindi io mi limito a dire poche cose, se non che questo dischetto è l'avventura solista del cantante (a quel tempo) dei Boo Radleys. Non grido al miracolo, ma non dico neanche di vendere il disco per 2 euro. Contiamo poi che tra i vari ospiti che danno una mano a Sice c'è sempre Martin Carr, il grande Ed Ball e Sean Jackson degli 18 Wheeler, quindi un cast di tutto rispetto! (1996 Creation)
First Fruits is a wondrous little album, released under the mantle of Eggman it is, to date, the solitary solo album by Simon Rowbotton, aka Boo Radleys frontman Sice. The Boo Radleys (the darlings of Creation Records before the Gallagher Bros) produced some of the UK's most inspiring material of the 90's and big part of the appeal was found in the bands melodic and haunting vocals. Sice had one of, if not "the" most appealing voice of all the UK's Guitar Pop bands (I hate the term Brit Pop) from this decade. Indeed Noel Gallagher or John Squire would have benefited from the Boo's frontman in their line up in preference to Brother Liam or Ian Brown's all to regular painfully thin offerings.
On the Boo Radleys material Sice's vocal talents had balanced Martin Carr's heavily distorted wall of sound perfectly, but could Sice cut it on his own?, after all this is an album of his own material and Carr had always assumed sole command over the entire Boo Radleys output. The answer quite simply is a resounding yes, and First Fruits is a fine collection of melodious guitar pop with the closest comparisons being the sweeter tracks from the Boo's commercial Wake Up album. If there's one fault with the album I guess it must be that it's woefully short on playing time at only 32 minutes, but the quality of the material more than makes up for this shortfall. Right from the opening "Purple Patches", which incidentally features Martin Carr on Guitar, to the closing "First Fruits Fall" there's a real quality about the melodies and harmonies. Some are mellow, semi folk ventures, the acoustic "Tomas" which features a delightful flute line, there's bright upbeat pop in the form of "Replace All Your Lies With Truth", there's simple but effective ballad's in the form of the piano led "Look Up" and strikingly beautiful compositions in the form "Out Of My Window" with it's subtle string arrangement featuring Hugh McDowell (who I would assume must be that of ELO fame). All of the aforementioned tracks beg the question why was Sice not allowed a look in by Carr on the Boo Radleys material, he could surely with this strength of composition at least have commanded a George Harrison supporting role to the master craftsman, especially considering the fact that the strongest tracks on First Fruits haven't been dealt with yet.
The big three tracks here in all honesty are your traditional indie guitar pop fare, they are well supported by the aforementioned tracks as they all add a little diversity to the set and prove that Sice was not content to simply roll out a straight down the line jangly guitar album as many might have expected. "That's That Then (For Now) starts slowly with Sice's haunting vocal lighting up a single sublime guitar line, before the track catches fire and the chiming chorus eats into your subconscious immediately, believe me it will take weeks and weeks to get this one out of your system. "Not Bad Enough" was the single from the album and again is built around a charming and infectious guitar hook and supplemented by wonderful multi track vocals, but still the best track is yet to come. "The Funeral Song" might sound like a dark and gloomy proposition, but it's simply anything but. "The Funeral Song" is a finely crafted, beautifully structured melodic pinnacle of First Fruits, and hearing this track kind of makes you wish that Martin Carr hadn't practically drowned this wonderful voice quite so often with his insistence on masking melody with distortion, often it seemed just for the hell of it.
I was going to suggest that First Fruits is one of the great forgotten albums of the 90's, but in reality I'm not convinced many ever discovered it in the first place. It is now inevitably out of print and I would be surprised if this one ever sees the light of day again, which is nearly as criminal as the lack of any subsequent Eggman releases. I shall treasure my copy, and should you ever get the opportunity, I strongly advise you to invest. (http://www.geocities.com/mjareviews/eggman.html)
- Purple Patches
- That's That Then (For Now)
- Not Bad Enough
- Funeral Song
- Replace All Your Lies With Truth
- Out of My Window
- Look Up
- I'll Watch Your Back
- First Fruits Fall