Rangers - Suburban Tours (Olde English Spelling Bee)

on Thursday, 20 May 2010
Dronea Dronea have been banging on about Forest Swords for a very long time, way before people slapped bizarre new genre's on their sound, whether that be "Chillwave" "Hypnagogic Pop" or "Glo Fi", the truth be told Forest Swords owe more to Burial that what I believe the aforementioned terms to mean. As such i steered clear of the genre as I didn't massively love the Swords, though they are finally growing on me.

Label mates Rangers on the other hand hit all the right buttons, the music is chilled, it glows and whilst maybe not quite hit a state of hypnagogia it is certainly early evening, summer music. Everything about it is just fantastic, the bedroom-esque production, the not quite perfect EQ and the ability to stay the right side of both cheese and funk with those oh so rubbery bass lines.

The best way to describe the music would probably be to imagine what people in the late 80's/ early 90's imagined the music of today or even what the future in general would be like, it has a strong nostalgic feel, some would say like peering into someone elses half remembered memories, fuzzy around the edges and missing clarity and complete sense. I can't help but think of Deloreans and Back to the Future 2 for some reason.

Suburban Tours is an album that shouldn't work but strangely does, quite instantly loveable and full of shelf life. Along with the excellent Bear Creak, laid back jazz funk bass to make Howard Moon week at the knees, Out Past Curfew, through Woodland Hills, Ross Downs to the aptly named Bel Air are simply genius, like Ducktails discovering the thumb of the Mighty Boosh's Hitcher. Very Highly Recommended, sure to be battling it out with Four Tet, Frank Bretschneider, Counterspark and hopefully the Fun Years for my album of the year.

What Boomkat Said :
*Another unfathomably great transmission from the mighty Olde English Spelling Bee - compressing a world of hazy 1980's pop edits and television broadcasts on one dense, oddly unsettling LP - so good* Rangers aka Joe Knight sits us in the passenger seat for another incredible cruise around the grey interzone of 1980's suburbia on this, his excellent debut LP release. 'Suburban Tours' was inspired by his move from the outskirts of his native Dallas, Texas, to a rainy San Francisco, where his loneliness grew into eleven tracks of pop-inspired, avant-smudged melancholia. The obvious comparison point is James Ferraro or Ariel Pink and their expressions of white American solitary poplife, but the tape editing processes and drained 80s funk of these tracks gives 'Suburban Tours' it's own autistic aura. Knight draws on the foggy memory of records by Steely Dan, Weather Report and Prefab Sprout, assembling a degraded sheen of 80s funk that's generally not found among many of his fellow Hypnagogic explorers. The uncomforting factor comes to light when his edits bunch into looped cul-de-sacs, like we're exploring the landscaped terrain of some gated community and the road/tape inexplicably folds into itself, we feel like we should be moving forward, wanting to get out of there, but we're were not getting anywhere. Perhaps this is his take on the stultifying nature of American middle-class suburban life? Or English, for that matter. Either way, the effect is oddly moving, blending the neon evening glow of an inner-city night drive with tones of a greyer, and more insipid suburban landscape. Limited copies - not to be missed.

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