THE PROPER ORNAMENTS "Foxhole"
January 20, 2017
Indie, Psychedelic Pop
Slumberland / Tough Love
01.Back Pages 02:45
02.Cremated (Blown Away) 03:12
04.Just A Dream 03:53
06.The Frozen Stare 04:17
07.Jeremy's Song 02:40
08.When We Were Young 02:02
09.Bridge By A Tunnel 03:33
10.I Know You Know 02:52
11.The Devils 03:39
Proper Ornaments is the project of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) and Max Oscarnold (Toy, Pink Flames). The band germinated slowly from their friendship, which began when Max distracted James from shop-keeping, as his then girlfriend attempted to steal shoes. Max was freshly arrived in London from Buenos Aires; helped out by Andrew Loog Oldham as it happens, to escape a drug-lead implosion of a previous band and a family member's plan to have him sectioned.
James and Max started out writing the follow-up in January 2015. On "Foxhole" they've sliced away a whole stratum of their sound, removing some distortion and lowering the frequency of plectrum strokes to allow more nuanced, piano-led ideas to emerge. The title isn't a reference to Television's jaunty proto-punk record but seems to be more of a dark, protective interior, a head space sketched out on "Jeremy's Song." While their particularly recognisable production style (a bright, frozen counterpoint to the airless mixes one encounters more often) remains, three things stand out as likely reasons for the shift in mood. By the time they got around to recording again in James" bedroom in Finsbury Park that Summer, the instability around the recording of "Wooden Head" (and the five years before) had slid into a deep and seething acrimony. Second, they both bought pianos. Third, when the band, with Daniel Nellis and Bobby Syme joining on bass and drums went to record at Tin Room in Hackney in June, the pinch wheel on the 8 track machine was broken and somehow no one noticed. All but one recording, "Frozen Stare," was hopelessly warped, so they went and did it all again from scratch back at James".
Proper Ornaments hold the attraction of seeming to not try very hard at all and achieve something outstanding nonetheless. Quite apart from our attachment to laziness and chance which make this seductive, textures of dappled drums, softened-out guitars and vocal harmonies that slide along as effortlessly as this, any evidence of conscious construction spirited away, are in themselves totally ecstatic to listen to.
- Edgar Smith
Foxhole is the kind of record that spreads out of the speakers like a warm wave of melancholy. The hushed voices, sweetly sung harmonies, quietly interlocking guitars, and gently rollicking tempos never break the quietly sad mood as song after song hits the sweet spot of midtempo beauty.
The Ornaments are yet another in a long line of floppy-haired guitar bands flying the flag of a purer pop past, but they’re also, unmistakably, one of the better, least pretentious ones. Sometimes it pays to be grateful rather than cynical.
It’s tough to spot much progress on Foxhole when compared to Wooden Head. In fact, it’s more devolution than evolution but the simple sparseness works well in moderation for some well penned songs.
THE PROPER ORNAMENTS "Foxhole" stream, слухати
The Proper Ornaments "Memories"
The Proper Ornaments "Magazine" video