In this fractured digitised world, where music lovers are divided by distance and ignorance, how do we link arms across the great divides to find mutual audio enrichment… at a reasonable price? Well, you could do worse than join the 1p Album Club.
‘What’s that?’ I hear you chirp. Well, it’s an online initiative where you register with a central agency (I think it’s one person, so far) and they select 2 mutually compatible people and introduce them to each other. The 2 people then send each other an album bought for 1p off Amazon. The beauty of this is that there are thousands of CDs to choose from, spanning decades in time and styles.
‘Oh, so it’s a club full of tight wads?’ Of course not…well maybe a little, but the parsimonious can have taste as well!
Everyone agrees to listen to the selection a minimum of 3 times (or at least I did) and then write a few words about the CD you’re sending and the CD you receive. It’s as simple as that and so is born a new online community!
Below is my review of the first CD that I recieved from the club.
The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike
With great excitement I received my 1p Album Club Christmas special and upon opening the package I found an album by a group that I had no idea existed. [No surprise there! – TTW Ed.] The cover, however, looked extraordinarily colourful, like a collection of over-ripe, or maybe that should be over-enthusiastic, fruit. It turned out to be a good pictorial representation of the music!
Upon hearing this album for the first time and waiting for the vocals to come in, I realized that there were no vocals for the first song at least. On the second song, comfortable that this was a voiceless project, a shouty rap kicked in, sung by immature girls, but that was in any case buried in the mix so it was impossible to tell what they were saying. The second song (Ladyflash) was a good barometer for the rest of this album in that the styles incorporated rock, hip-hop (including scratching), certainly pop and, with some interesting instrumentation dubbed in, cheering and orchestration. (Wikipedia helpfully lists what the band are trying to do as: ‘combine indie rock and garage rock with a mixture of blaxploitation and Bollywood soundtracks, Double Dutch chants, old school hip hop and distorted guitars.’) In other words, it’s all over the place!
The shouty girl raps don’t appear much in the rest of the album and the only consistent sound is the persistent hiss through the record that, at times, sounds like it has been recorded with the window open. Still, this unencumbered approach to music making does bear some fruit. By the time we get to track 5 (Get It Together), you realize that there is a good tune in there and the clash of instrumentation on this song really works (flute, guitar and drums). However, they have to go and spoil it by stopping and pasting a hip-hop scratchy ending on it. It really is that eccentric. One song, Air Raid GTR, is just that, an Air Raid Siren for 38 seconds. It is, I think, apparent that this is music that can be used in films and video games and it’s no surprise that it has been.
Overall, after a few listens, I think the project works. Some songs are really good, Huddle Formation being a favourite. Others make great background music, Friendship Update being a good example of that. Ultimately, it’s joyous celebration that is wonderfully disorientating and to which one finds oneself returning more often that you might imagine.
However, one song I could not get out of my head has all the great elements from The Go Team, horn samples that could drive a marching band, rapping that’s impossible to decipher (apart from ‘come on everybody, let’s rock this place’), harmonica and a bubbling funky rhythm section:
All in all, an overwhelming and exhausting listen. Maybe one for when you have just seen the birth of your first child. Many thanks, Adam. Great choice!