First Impressions 4: The View From Halfway Down

 Andy Bell (2020)

[First impressions of albums bought in my September 2021 spree]

With a title that reminds me of Kermit's nephew, I wasn't sure what to expect from this. Andy Bell has had a varied career, starting in teenage shoegaze sensations Ride, via underrated Britpop also-rans Hurricane #1 and then to a surprisingly long stint with obscure pub rockers Oasis. His stint in Hurricane #1 in particular showed what an inventive musician he is - just have a listen to "Remote Control" or the single of "Rising Sign" (the album version is the annoying MBV remix, for some reason).

What we get is has obvious similarities with Ride, but a bit less intense, instead being more relaxed and laid back. The whole thing has a late sixties/early seventies feel, with the most obvious influence being Neu, whose "Hallogallo" groove crops up a few times, mixed with the psychedelia of early Floyd and Traffic.

Stand out tracks for me are the first track, "Love Comes In Waves", which has very Ride-esque harmonies over a motorik groove and reverb-drenched guitars, and the last track, "Heat Haze on Weyland Road", which caught my ear with its Kraftwerk-ian retro electronica. In between these two are some nice sounds, like the great backwards guitar work on "Aubrey Drylands Gladwell" and the acoustic Neu-ness of "Skywalker". There's a few too many instrumentals and occasional nothingy noodliness that I could do without, but overall it's a good album that doesn't outstay its welcome at eight tracks - an album I'm pleased to have found entirely by accident and will be listening to again.

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