Australia's David West is some kind of splendid musician. A former member of the wonderful Total Control, and currently the wonderful Rank / Xerox, the wonderful Lace Curtain and the wonderful Ray Columns, (as far as I can tell they're all still active). That's some CV. And some split consciousness. For while the two former bands deal with that kind of contemporary Post Punk full on jugular attack, the latter offer something utterly different, brittle indie melody, pop music as it should be if the quirky kids were in charge.
The first two tracks of Rat Columns latest album, this years Candle Power, led me to believe that I was listening to Grant McLennan fronting one of the best Flying Nun bands, back in the eighties. Given my taste, that's about as great a compliment I'm capable of making. But the band are not merely aping the sound, they're capturing the magic. The two tracks, Someone Else's Dream, (posted here), and She Loves the Rain, (not, goddammit! it's not available, get on Spotify and hear it), are two of the most golden songs I've heard this year. I wish I could describe She Loves the Rain for you, its poetry in motion, but perhaps that would be taking my love for it a little too far.
The album becomes more eccentric and eclectic after that. I like some of it, care less for its more wilfully experimental moments, but will forgive any album with such moments of grace and poise as these. There are moments that make you feel that peak period Aztec Camera, The Smiths, and The Go-Betweens are back with a vengeance showing the kids once and for all, exactly how to do it. Final track, Dream Tonight, (also posted here) captures that bass rumble and glacial momentum of Power, Corruption & Lies period New Order, with the added attraction of fey female backing vocals and once more the lightness of touch of Grant, Robert and Lindy *. David West. I salute you!
* Go-Betweens reference