Like a marching band of gurning elves bulldozing the entire contents of an Aberystwyth drugstore down their gobs before throwing up a mix of early Gorky’s and Tom Waits’ garage.
Have you heard Magical Trevor? He’s the deliciously annoying viral cartoon that was mutated into an advert for 118-247 earlier this year. Son Capson appear to be his magical Welsh cousin, nestling in the Cambrian Mountains and gouging on Tom Waits’ Swordfish Trombones and Hungarian coming-of-age ceremonies. He conjures past images of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynchi donning wizard outfits and singing about Peanut Dispensers while sounding like Eugene Hutz’s marvellous moustache. He’s got a song about a Sniper on the Roof of Tesco. He’s pretty awesome.
Nicely side-stepping the 80s-girl revival that has seen Pip, Boots and Roux parcelled-up into one comfortably-marketed package for journalists’ pigeon holes, Marina and the Diamonds’ eclectic hymns draw more on the new wave vibrancy of Lena Lovich and Kate Bush. Marina herself puts her roots down to Brody Dalle, Britney, Dolly Parton and a birthplace in “ancient Greece” via Wales. The Joni Mitchell-flavoured “I’m Not a Robot” and aching, lifting “Obsessions” show a rich songwriting and storytelling ability that should soon have ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ roll off the tongue with the same eminence as Bat for Lashes.
Martin Carr‘s biog should read like the A-Team’s: ‘he gave up the charts and a life in pop for the rich-storytelling of life in the Welsh capital’. Ah, so naive! He should have known that his beautiful craftmanship would be constantly called on and his six Brave Captain albums have tied together the enduring sense of pop that he carved out with the Boo Radleys’s with some captivating lo-fi country and psych. New album ‘Ye Gods (And Little Fishes)‘ is the first he has released under his own name and is his most engaging solo outing yet; warm, brooding laments and that stay with you as the last few notes fizzle out.
Grabbing their name from a low-budget flick film that has been described as “pure heroin for pop-culture junkies” seems an appropriate choice for Science Bastard; they have that wreck-all-the-instruments-then-piece-them-back-together-and-throw-some-pop-bubbles-on-the-mess approach – all fuzzy, amphetamine drumming, short-sharp-shock guitars and gurning vocals . Wonderfully, they have no attention span either – throwing delicious hooks about with abandon they sound like a scratch running after an itch.
Son Capson, Marina and the Diamonds, Martin Carr and Science Bastard play Chapter Arts Centre on 22 October as part of the BBC Wales Adam Walton and BBC Radio 1 Introducing in Wales with Bethan Elfyn evening.
Also appearing are: Post War Years, Race Horses, Bright Light Bright Light and Zimmermans. The show will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 1 Introducing In Wales with Bethan Elfyn
How to buy Swn tix/wristbands and full line-up