Grubby Mitts involves Johnny Parry, whose solo material is usually more geared towards the melodramatic singer/songwriter side. Here he takes a back seat to concentrate on percussion, production and string arrangements whilst his artist friend Andy Holden writes the material.
From the outset it seems clear that Grubby Mitts is an experimental project. For opener ‘Her Laughter/For Tomorrow’, a loop of vocal samples and some woozy instruments eventually take flight as the strings, guitar and brass contributions manage to agree on a very pleasant melody. Ivor Cutler fans will rejoice at a cover of his ‘Beautiful Cosmos’ and if anyone wanted to know what a marble game and a piano sounded like when played together, ‘Last Stop For The Good Old Times’ provides the answer. As it happens a lovely, warm instrumental passage ensues but I could have done without the marbles. A simlarly gorgeous and comforting tune underscores ‘The Mountain & I’ but once again outside infuences (in this case a repeated chant) undermine some of the good work. Then the EP concludes with some melancholic clarinet and guitar work for the doleful ‘So Long See You Tomorrow’.
Despite these minor gripes though, this is an enjoyable EP. That’s because ‘After The Facts’ appears – on the surface at least – to be a highbrow concept record but looking beneath some of the quirky touches, there’s some quality instrumental moments to be discovered, which are full of both heart and melody.
Johnny Parry, Tortoise