The Beach Boys


If this blog were actually human, it would be walking, talking, self-actualising and probably crying quite a lot quite a lot by now. Apart from self-actualising (WordPress’ pingback system makes me think I have comments when actually it’s just me writing about my own posts. META), it seems blogs follow a rather quicker life cycle. After a promising growth spurt, and a plateau of postage, there have been times in the last year when I’ve though ol’ MFAGW (which is fun to pronounce phonetically) might just be on its last legs.

A combination of university, musical disinterest and laziness has meant my previous prolificity has ebbed somewhat and, with it, reading figures plummetted. Hype Machine is a fickle mistress. But this was always a personal project and those gaps mean just as much as my posts, really. When I want to write about music, I love it and I truly hope that that want returns to its former glory now that graduation (and thus unemployment) has happened. For now, I’ll plug away as and when I want to and to those who keep wanting to read, I thank you very, very much.

The Beach Boys – When I Grow Up (YSI)
The Young Knives – Part Timer (YSI)

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Annoyed by my unnecessarily long break? Here’s some lazy recompence in the form of an Esben & the Witch review I wrote for the Newcastle Courier:

Esben and the Witch would like you to believe in the alternative great white (or should that be black?) hope tag they’ve been generously bequeathed of late. They’d like you to believe that their brand of sombre, slow-burning goth-gaze is what the British public deserves, nay, needs to shake the cobwebs out of the bloated, homogenous indie scene. It’s this sense of artistic self-importance that powers Violet Cries along; a great wave of holier-than-thou bluster.

And that would be fine if it wasn’t all so dull. Opener ‘Argyria’ goes some way towards tricking you that this simply isn’t the case, starting proceedings with a stately, mostly instrumental swell of powerful noise. But it’s all downhill from there once the realisation of quite how one-track this album is kicks in. Swooning Florence Welch impression? Check. Deep, prominent drumming? Check. Unnecessary, but oh-so-trendy synth additions? Check. Far too much reverb? Check. From the ponderous over-indulgence of ‘Light Streams’ to the ponderous over-indulgence of ‘Eumenides’ (hey, if they can do it so can I), the album never quite breaks out of its own carefully-constructed rut. Sure, this might be more “interesting” than a lot of indie music out there right now, but when it’s just no fun, that’s when you’ve hit a whole new set of problems.

The Beach Boys – Fun, Fun, Fun (YSI)

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but music really is hugely enjoyable – and for a variety of different reasons! For instance, in our shuffle-dominated age, finding chance connections or the happy intertwining of songs you might not have thought compatible can become a wonderfully fulfilling practice, especially when it happens entirely spontaneously.

I didn’t even want shuffle on today, but through sheer happenstance, ‘Good Vibrations’ was followed by Belle & Sebastian’s ‘Step Into My Office, Baby’ and it immediately became clear that these two songs fit together perfectly. Brian Wilson’s pop symphony is emulated in Stuart Murdoch’s willingness to switch styles and moods within one track, as well as more obvious similarities such as harmonies and twanging surf guitar.

Music’s bloody brilliant – fact. Take that, conventional opinion!

The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (YSI)
Belle & Sebastian – Step Into My Office, Baby (YSI)