venerdì 10 settembre 2010

January "I Heard Myself In You"

Incantevole. Credo che se i sogni (quelli belli) potessero essere musicati, beh, la colonna sonora sarebbe questa. Magia sonora vera e propria. Canzoni che sanno cullare, incantare e trasportano direttamente in un mondo nuovo. Chiudete gli occhi ascoltando questo disco! (2001 Poptones)

Somewhere between the grandeur of Buffalo Tom’s Taillights Fade and the ebb and flow of Red House Painters’ Katy’s Song lies All Time, the track January have chosen to open their debut album. It’s actually a surprise that the offices that house Beggars Banquet and 4AD (once UK home to both those celebrated US bands) haven’t opened their doors to January.
The cynics among you may surmise that one Nick Drake-meets-Country Rock ensemble is enough for one label but, like Mojave 3, January do have the credentials (or at least a pedal-steel guitar and a reverb unit) to appeal to both the Uncut readership and the bedsit bound mopers awaiting a shoegazing revival.
Simon McLean’s songs are delivered in a breathy, indistinct style that clouds any lyrical shortcomings, relying on his forte for a chiming chord change and sweeping arrangement to see them through. Live the band are prone to extended, backs to the audience, heads down feedback attacks though such tactics are absent from I Heard Myself In You.
In their place, a lilting brand of resonant country-lite alternates with epic sojourns into space like All Time or successfully marries the two as on Sequence Start, the title track, or recent single Falling In. Other tracks simply meander harmlessly (Contact Light, Projections, Eyes All Mine), unable to find a spark to lift them. Quite likely one of the more recently penned tracks, Through Your Skies is probably the most realised track here.
Melodic and confident with the band at their most sonorous, it could be a precursor to January’s future. Might want to speed up the songwriting process, mind. Matt Dornan
CWAS #8 -

There's no point beating about the particularly thorny bush that is rock criticism. Since this CD arrived through my door I have been clinically unable to listen to anything else for more than 30 seconds at a time. And if any of the other so-called New Acoustic mob can produce a better debut album than this in 2001, I'll not only eat my hat, I'll eat theirs' too.
Not that it's fair to even class January with the retro crooners of Starsailor, Turin Brakes et al. Songwriter Simon McLean has remembered that there's nothing like a truly epic tune to prop up the most melancholy of lyrics.
And more importantly, why settle for an acoustic guitar when there's a myriad of emotions to be conveyed with a jack to jack lead, a couple of pedals and a good old-fashioned amplifier plonked behind you?
When signing a then unknown January, Poptones boss Alan McGee went to great lengths to tell all and sundry how Sarah Peacock was the best guitarist in Britain. Hyperbole or not, the guitar playing on 'I Heard Myself in You' is never less than stupendous. Peacock's effortless slide guitar and country-style picking on the title track and 'Invisible Lines' perch perfectly next to the explosive distortion pedal workouts of 'All Time' and 'Sequence Start'.
'All Time' is a masterpiece of an opening track, reminiscent of Noel Gallagher fronting Mazzy Star. Building from two simple chords on an acoustic guitar, it climbs to a crescendo that's probably making Jason Pierce take a close look at his forthcoming album. It's that good.
The album's centrepiece, however, is the truly inspiring 'Falling In'. Sounding like it could have been written at any time in the last thirty years yet instantly timeless, 'Falling In' puts January so far ahead of the pack it makes Manchester United's runaway Premiership lead seem positively anaemic.
The standard has been set for British guitar music in 2001. Whether anyone picks up the challenge is another question entirely. (Robert Collins -

There's a good reason why sad songs say so much. Whether heartbreak leaves you in the kind of catatonic trance that even makes the ordering of comfort-pizza an impossible task, or has you spinning into a verbal frenzy, hanging on the phone rather than spending a second alone, those are the songs that are here to help.
In the depths of inarticulacy, they offer the best words and notes to express your misery; as you gabble incoherently, they shape wretchedness into something aesthetically manageable.
With their debut album, January clearly aspire to emotional cogency, striving for the intensity that belonged to The Verve and the veracity that's been staked out in alt-country territory. Unfortunately, this translates as shoegazing in the desert, and that's not a package holiday you'd rush to book.
Singer Simon McLean can write affectingly, yet the delivery shows the world of difference between being priceless and being precious.
The propulsive love-logic of the excellent 'Contact Light', the Her Space Holiday doppelgänger 'Through Your Skies' or the echo-and-fade of 'Fuse' cannot conceal the mundanity that settles like sediment at the heart of this album: vocals that Nick Drake could knock out cold, a reliance on displaying whole 'feelings' rather than placing them on the dissection tray, the whine ordinaire of 'Sequence Start' and 'All Time'.
Sad songs say so much. If you've stopped listening,however, they're just talking to themselves.
6 out of 10 (Victoria Segal -

- All Time
- Through Your Skies
- Contact Light
- I Heard Myself in You, Pt. 2
- Invisible Lines
- Sequences Start
- Eyes All Mine
- Projections
- Falling In
- Fused


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