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Tuesday
Feb212017

VA - Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present English Weather

"It’s a pretty motley collection of artists trying out ideas – epic, episodic, orchestral ballads; jazzy piano-led soul-searching with abrasive guitar; ascetic acoustic pop decorated with woodwind – in a brief, directionless period when all bets were off, and before it became clear that early 70s rock would be dominated by prog, glam, West Coast singer-songwriters, and cocaine cowboys advising us to take it easy. Sometimes, the music the compilation alights on feels like a period piece; sometimes, as in the case of Camel’s Never Let Go, it feels weirdly contemporary – perhaps because a mood of pensive uncertainty has very much proved 2017’s thing thus far.

But what’s really arresting about English Weather is how unified and coherent it sounds. How the disparate elements come together and paint a remarkably vivid picture of an era. Everything here is of a really high quality: you wonder how so much of it went unnoticed, and whether it’s because the bar was set high 40-odd years ago, or because the compilers are adept at finding the one great track on otherwise unremarkable albums. Everything is shot through with the same autumnal melancholy. Everything sounds incredibly British, up to and including a minor psych-pop band called Orange Bicycle attempting to stave off the inevitable by copying the contemporary sounds emanating from LA. It takes a certain je ne sais quoi to still sound redolent of the London suburbs on a drizzly October day while singing about heading down the Oakland turnpike in the intricate harmony vocal style of Crosby, Stills and Nash, but somehow they managed it." - The Guardian

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