Monday, December 20, 2010

The Continentals - In A Circle With Our Friends EP

Hear The Track Here

You may not think this if you are used to my griping and moaning about this and that over the years but I do actually consider myself a very fortunate human being indeed. I witnessed the birth of what we laughingly call the music business, I was involved with it close up and personal for more years than I care to mention (Ed: and we don't have enough time...) and I've listened to music and musicians in every state imaginable. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for this seemingly second career making music (again) but - maybe more importantly - listening the music from my peers from all over the world. I am constantly staggered (even given what I said above) at the sheer magnificence of this digital music age, the depth and breadth of truly awesome talent on display and - best of all - most of it is free, or almost so. Now, when you've spent your life at odds with what constitutes a 'record business' (ie different to a music business), this is extremely gratifying...

Hence the smug suit. Do you like it??

The reason I started like this is because The Continentals completely illustrate that point. When else, in all of history, could you reach out and touch the musician in the next city, let alone in another country the other side of the world? Be thankful chums, because - believe it or not - you are also living through a musical golden age. The Continentals, for example are ' a group of 7 indie-centered jazz musicians' mentioning Arcade Fire and others as a musical reference. I snagged a copy of their latest EP easy peasy lemon squeezy and I suggest you do the same, especially if you value things like polish, technical ability and a mix so clean you could serve dinner on it. Ready (track one) will show you immediately that the talent is there to back that claim. 'I've got everything ready' the lyric goes 'come and find me already' and you know what, I agree absolutely, positively 100%. So, where exactly then, is the aforementioned 'record' business? Actually whotf needs them anyway?

YOU, however, need to listen to Ready because it will introduce you to the reason you find me so cheerful (Ed: for a big, big change), the awesome talent I talked about earlier. Despite my often favourable reviewing style, it isn't that often that I get truly blown away, and when I do it's usually noteworthy (and I have a rep to uphold mang). If Ready did it for you (and it will) wait until you wrap your ears around When The Days Get Longer. With the kind of intro that promises so much, the song would have to be more than a bit special, and it is. There is an easy, spaced-out sound going on here that reminds me strongly of Pink Floyd in their quiet (ie drugged senseless) moments. Truly original though and bang up to date. Superlative work. As is Vitamins and Tried That Life which make up the rest of the In A Circle set, all of it beautifully recorded, brimming over with great sonic ideas and something different to gawp at almost every second. This EP (I guess) isn't so much a 'record' as an adventure; a brilliant, jaw-dropping, edge-of-the-seat wtf-is-going-to-happen-next ride that I loved on the first play let alone the 1,000th. Best thing I have heard this whole year and no mistake.

Indie? THIS is Indie with a capital MUST HAVE. 101 stars for ****'s sake!!

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