I’ve got to admit that I just listened once or twice to another Piano Magic
album. I remember thinking that it was somehow uneven, irregular. There were
some good songs but the whole lacked something. This new album leaves me the
same impression. Piano Magic is a sort of collective in which musicians come and
go. On Writers Without Homes, it occurred to the core of the group
(Marin-Johnson-Steer-Tchernyan) to invite, among others, Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau
Twins), Tarwater, The Czars’ singer and Vashti Bunyan who is a famous sixties
result is an heterogeneous juxtaposition of songs which haven’t necessarily
got a similar atmosphere.
first song, entitled “(Music won’t save you from anything but) silence”
brilliantly opens the album but it does not represent it properly. Indeed,
it’s the only post-rock song of the album. It’s reminiscent of Mogwaï, GYBE
and Do Make Say Think. This song is restless while all the others are calm.
of the tunes have an eighties feeling to them (“the season is long” for
example). “Crown of the lost”, the one with Vashti Bunyan, is a nineties
song that is trying hard to sound like as if we were living in the sixties (like
Whistler) but it is quite appealing. “Modern Jupiter” sounds like the music
of its guests, Tarwater. “Dutch Housing” is particular because of its French
lyrics that are strangely sung a la Brigitte Fontaine but it evokes this english
band signed to Sarah that was a bit successful in the early nineties: Field
favourite songs are “Certainty” and “Shot through the fog”: they are
quiet, delicate moments thanks to their beautiful piano parts and their female,
typically English voice uttering the lyrics as if they were meant to be a
lullaby. The guest’s voice is Caroline Potter’s. These two songs are really
piano magic ! I wish this album was like that overall.
title – Writers Without Homes- is a good choice because this album
leaves a stateless impression, a saturnine feeling of being lost in the middle
of nowhere. In addition, the artwork participates much to this since you hardly
get what the photographs show It has a recognizable 4AD aesthetic. It evokes a
dreamy but dismal atmosphere that makes me think of a Cocteau Twins sleeve.
/oct 1st 2002/