VG11    SOUTHALL RIOT "Amplifier Morning EP"


from NME
One immediately senses Southall Riot actually live in the sort of world Clearlake can only summon up in their minds: poorly maintained, a bit damp and full of remaindered '70s books about UFOs. They're hardly musically proficient either, but in not striving for anything like a conventional sound they evince both tension and charm with these four shadowy songs from beneath the derelict potting shed (as opposed to under the floorboards). "Well I'm a kingpin queen with a hell of a buzz in my ear", sings Philm 50% of SR and the ghostly embodiment of Edwyn Collins fronting a happy Spacemen 3. At least, he is to this observer. One of the many qualities of a Southall Riot record is the accompanying handout which offers pithy potted descriptions of each track. Thus 'Amplifier Morning' is Apples In Stereo on some pretty bad speed, 'Heart Shape Baby' is at a push, 13th floor Elevators, circa uncool 'Bull Of The Woods' period, kinda intertwined with Joyzipper. and so on. The real sound of arcane English psychedelia.

from freebase.com
One of the joys of Southall Riot's 7" EPs is that they are more like mini-concept albums than singles made up of a title track and with a posse of three behind it. The latest offering is cut from vinyl so thick that if you stuck three legs on it, it would make a sturdy stool for a sixteen stone milkmaid. But Stuart and Philm have always known a thing or two about building legends, so it's not surprising that they managed to find the unused vinyl from Joe Meek's Triumph label, and press these songs into it, dripping their heritage.

Title track, Amplifier Morning, is the sound of classic pop played on an ancient gramophone at a disreputable party at 3am. There are the Velvet Underground's more melodic moments coupled with buzz saw guitar and feedback. And then every once in a while this is partially obscured behind the sounds of out of their heads guests bumping into the record player, dropping curious effects into the sound as they do so.

The instrumental No Day Week has the keyboard playing lonely piper of the glen against a drum machine that went out of production in 1984, while Heart Shape Baby is The Ronnettes seeing Emily play. Dreamy, romantic Joy Zipper sounds interrupted in the middle by someone doing the hoovering. Final track, Marshall Joe Rides Again, is a heart on sleeve tribute to Joe Meek and Telstar, all galloping drumbeats, Rawhide whistling and heavenly choirs. You know those people who get messages from the other side by tuning to white noise on the wireless? Well, if Joe were trying to get through to the living by this method, it would probably sound something like this. Telstar 4 Ever. JJ

from Record Collector

"If Joe Meek had produced Flying Nun's early catalogue" according to the press release. Not too far off the mark - perhaps more like Syd Barrett-produced Nick Drake. Either way, it's all good stuff - a little simplistic in places, but striking and musically brilliant.
It's impossible to pin down this EP: it includes Gregorian chant influences alongside '67-psychedelic psounds. If your tastes are eclectic (like the Singles Bar's) you'll love it. Well worth dropping a few quid for. This is also a beautiful 7" for its audiophiles - forget yer 180gm vinyl, this platter is a frisbee-like 500gm!

from Robots and Electronic Brains
Lambent, an adjective, predicates a soft radiance of the noun to which it applies. Southall Riot's take on the Elephant Six Wilsonisms, also known as Amplifier Morning, is lambent. SR gracefully cartwheel around the underlying tune with gentle guitar and weird wow-wow bass, stopping almost before they've begun but not before you've begun to wonder just what an amplifier morning might be. Also worthy of note: No Day Week's ambulatory breeze through experimental fields.

from AMG All Music Guide
If ever a band had their heart lovingly stolen by '60s guitar pop, Southall Riot did. Since the mid-'90s the London duo that make up Southall Riot have released a strong catalog of singles, EPs, and the occasional eight-track cartridge (by their own group as well as the equally dreamy Hot Chip and Ansuz Lunasa) on their own Victory Garden label. Southall Riot's The Amplifier Morning EP finds that the band has managed to improve upon their already brilliant sound. Whereas earlier EPs, notably Quality Goods, seemed to show the band enthralled with exploring the possibilities of electronic gizmos as applied to '60s psychedelic pop, Amplifier Morning finds the band singing merrily amid waves of echo and acoustic guitars. The opening strains of the bouncy title track "Amplifier Morning" have an almost sitar-esque feel, contributing to the sense one gets of the band's love for vintage rock. Think of Syd Barrett, the Turtles, and Guided by Voices and the Apples in Stereo genetically woven together to create an unstoppable musical force (who'd want to stop it?). "No Day Week" is a perky instrumental so beautifully done that it bops through the speakers so pleasantly that listeners almost don't notice it. Reverb-drenched and fuzzy like a lovely dream, "Heart Shape Baby" finds honey-dipped boy/girl vocals drifting along a melody that calls to mind a retooled "Surgical Focus." (Rest assured, the title and the song have absolutely no connection to Nirvana's similarly titled noise rock anthem.) Album closer "Marshal Joe Rides Again," with its percussive acoustics, whistling, and layered choral-style vocals, calls to mind something of a warped soundtrack for a spaghetti western. An instantly endearing combo, Southall Riot's music is best described as having the feel of being made in the not-so-distant past by musicians trying to imagine what music would sound like in a Hollywood-created future ruled by computers and men in foil suits. Vintage music and retro sounds are used as inspiration, not a crutch, to create futuristic retro indie rock for pot-smoking robots. Extraordinarily charming. - Karen E. Graves

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