Radio Khartoum may be based in the USA but it’s hard to find a label which represents the idiosyncracies of the British quite so well. So along with such quintessential delights as The Hepburns and At Swim Two Birds, Gareth Cavill now joins the fray with his own peculiar slices of melancholia.
Beginning with the morose ‘Terese’ won’t satisfy lovers of happy pop music but it sets the scene for the lovelorn delights to come. ‘These Things’ treads a familiar path for fans of The Montgolfier Brothers’ tales of loss and nostalgia. Meanwhile, in a notable deviation from Cavill’s favoured spare atmospherics, ‘Cold Heaven’ shifts from a lonely acoustic guitar figure to shadowy, almost claustrophobic layers of noise.
Yet good as these songs are, Cavill really comes in to his own for ‘Clumsy Hands’ which combines heartbreaking melody and typically doleful lyrics, then again for ‘Certain Friend’ which comes encircled in a delightfully sad xylophone/piano concoction.
Cavill’s voice may be limited for some, with little attempt to disguise his Northern accent but that is part of the charm of the record (where references to cups of tea and watching the washing machine go round are considered highlights of the man’s life). Cult concern that it is though, ‘Mares’ Tails’ will be one of those records that is cherished by lovers of kitchen sink drama.
The Montgolfier Brothers, Anthony Rochester