Tracks of 2015: #2 ‘Hôtel X’ (Richard Lomax)

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I have an omnichord and I’m not afraid to use it.

Singing with his wry eyes glancing off to the right, as though the flippant poetry of his lyrics are just coming to him through a spirit guide, Richard Lomax has the great contradictory combination of puppy-dog innocence in the eyes and old-soak wisdom in the lyrics. It’s a great way to singer-songwrite.

‘Hôtel X’ is lyrical in the grand tradition of that word. World-weary without the aftertaste of bitterness, it’s undercut by what I suspect commercial radio would demand be more obviously blues-tuned guitars. Here those guitars are spiky and dismissive, countering the tone of the song up to the cluttered, tumbledown conclusion. As commentary pieces go, it’s far more enjoyable (and brief) than anything by Owen Jones.

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Tracks of 2015: #1 ‘REALiTI’ (Grimes)

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Welcome to the beginning of the year.

With a new full album released at the tail end of the year Grimes has topped-and-tailed my chin stroking about the tracks which have taken my ears by surprise this year.

The industry-wide emotional blubbering about this song heralded its release as the first true sign of 2015 being ‘the year of…’ followed by as many buzz words as allowed by each publication’s house style: “women” was by far the most popular, followed closely behind by “synth”. This particular woman and this particular track became the measure by which I measured many subsequent song releases. It’s still a high bar.

Floaty and distinct with 80s style electronic beats chugging along in the background underneath the current trend for brittle melodic cuts and slivers, ‘REALiTI’ was released as an unsuccessful demo left out of this year’s album release: it’s a great little layered song, pop-princess in the middle shrouded with indie cred material.  As predicted by the mags at the time, many women and synths did come together this year and Grimes should be considered the invisible influence behind much of them.