August 17, 2011
I’ll call these pop songs, largely because they’re not rock songs, or folk songs, or Balinese wedding songs, but that doesn’t really cover it. These are literate, witty, intelligent and playful songs, and they are pop songs in the same way that Art Spiegelman’s Maus (to pick an utterly inappropriate example at lazy random) is a comic book, or Zaha Hadid’s Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion is a building: because they are, but not because they conform to any of the prejudices you may harbour regarding that extraordinarily broad church.
August 11, 2011
Stillness In The Mirror is an album that effectively fuses a mechanical, or automatic sonic sensibility with a very organic, human one. That’s an interesting strategy in and of itself, but I don’t get the impression that this conceptual framework is the point of the music: the sounds on this album signify in a complex way, with verbally poetic, tonally musical, and concretely sonic discourses interacting with one another on a variety of levels; the dialectic of organic and synthetic sound is another such interaction, and to my ear it is employed as a means to an end.
August 9, 2011
Paul Littlewood has a signature arrangement style, a way of doing songs. Simple, syncopated guitar parts are layered with glitchy electronic percussion, combinations of short repeated phrases accumulating into complex textures. There are dynamic variations, but over a limited range, for the most part, textural density is proportional to emotional intensity, and that’s about it. No fancy tricks, no strings, no choirs, no clever harmonic substitutions, no production wizardry: just subtly changing low-key textures and a voice.
August 5, 2011
Some songwriters tell it how it is, laying their raw emotion directly on the line with simple language and an impassioned delivery; others burnish their lyrics with so much metaphor and wordplay that we feel an ironic distance from their subjects, irrespective of the ostensible pathos they may describe; some give every impression of writing autobiographically (although as listeners we can never really tell); and others adopt overtly narrative strategies, putting distinct fictional characters into each song.