I’m not big on cassettes, but this one’s worth a mention.
Semi-conductor Si Paton has had to do it the hard way, reworking sections and transcribing bars while living between squats, surviving hand-to-mouth on scant earnings intermittently teaching music theory. He often jokes that this is a vanity project, but his tone is always laced with just enough pride.
Selectric are a real community; a minimum of nine x chromosomes and one y drawn together from the outer-reaches of Portugal, Poland and these British Isles to bond a handsome patchwork. A middle finger to middle England. Austerity punk in a bourbon-stained birthday suit. Well, at times. At others they flit between the porcelain delicacy of Air and hooks bigger than funk.
Think Animal Collective attending community college with borrowed recorders. Or just go with their own stab: ‘How it’d sound if Andrew WK played with Charles Mingus’. Wherever it lies, this release is sublime.
Parting the curtains with Serfin’ USA (smart puns are smart), the EP bleeds into a revitalising sound, the kind that makes you want to tie your gym shoes tighter before a jog at dawn (I’d assume, I’m a smoker so this is guesswork). They called it Rudnick’s Magic Recorder and it’s brilliant. It dreams up the intense tenacity of a 70’s Grand Prix winner ahead of his final corner… Agata’s solo is hands-down the coolest thing put to tape last year, her violin swearing blind through that DS-1.
Ducks invites your mind to wander to the verges of its ominous loom, as does the mazy waltz of Selling Crack To Kids, which maps late night >>> early morning paranoia with a magnificent clarinet cameo to boot. It’s a real flex of the band’s muscles on record, and a marvellous spectacle live, particularly when it trips towards the tail (to my mind instantly echoing Youthmovies) leaving just the guitar to sooth.
Crack is reminiscent of earlier slow-burner Dead Strings, which is a tender ode to the silkiest of jazz. A stroke to the moustache. Si hits the bass solo on this track beautifully, his forefingers skipping from the low end to the high like a less uptight Carlos D. Plus, Juao’s drums are pure stealth.
Si tells me Daniel Bryan is a wrestler because I don’t initially get the reference. He then persists to stand shouting Yes! Yes! Yes! until the whole room turns to stare. He wrote just shy of six minutes in honour of the man’s fuff, and it’s a wonderful celebratory note on which to end the EP. Springtime as sound.
Full disclosure while we’re here, I roped Selectric into playing Crosswires last year as one of my two picks (the other was Theo), so you could view all this as native advertising. Considering the extent of my gush that’d be reasonable. Si wrote this great read on meeting one of the greatest guitarists of our generation, and I’ve also slept on the cover artist‘s couch.
£4 or more right here.