A horrible hack

Record Review



Year Released: 2005
Format: CD
Label: Ypsilanti
Reviewed by Tom Sloan on Jun 13, 2007
Inbetween doing Saturday Looks Good To Me and releasing a fair few solo records in recent times, Fred Thomas has his Flashpapr project, presumably for when he tires of quirky 60’s pop and yet doesn’t want to sit around on his own with his acoustic. It seems this album was recorded back in 2001, but I’m pretty sure it only came out last year. The result is something really quite divine; plaintive, spacey arrangements with strings, subtle electronics, the odd horn or harmonica here and there, and the kind of sad singing and lyrics that those who have heard any of Fred’s solo stuff will be familiar with.

The first track, ‘Panther’s Paw;’ is one of the nicest on show, with a simple, repetitive vocal part over clean, guitar picks backed by warm strings and soft electronic hums. The rest of the album continues in a similar manner, often with infrequent vocals, but with a couple of very-slightly more up-tempo songs interspersed with some purely instrumental arrangements. Probably my favourite moment on the whole record comes on the word-less ‘untitled’, half way through when some deep, gloomy strings deftly fade away into the background ambience and are replaced by the most blissful blend of chiming bells, keys, electronic whispers and god-knows-what-else to create an utterly perfect minute of sound as you’re ever likely to hear. It’s absolutely gorgeous. This band owns the post-midnight hours, and I’ll be keeping warm to this the next time snow falls outside my window.

Any one who likes any of the music and words this guy writes should get hold of a copy of this. It’s no surprise to learn that there’s a member of Ida involved, - I guess fans of that quietly amazing band would also appreciate the melancholic fragility of Flashpapr too.

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