You see, it’s about addressing the simple things. IBIL is a record about girls by boys too shy to talk to them in person, and one that communicates in an aching swirl of acoustic and digital lo-fi, the longing of not only meeting that spry-eyed girlie, but actually being able to say hi. What must be a crippling disability for David and Stephen, is a blessing for the rest of us, as we get treated to 10 tracks bursting with the self-confidence that can only come from living in hope. Crafted from acoustic guitar, Casio keyboards, circuit bent speak and spell machines, and live drums recorded to a “very, very old 8-track”.
The songs have a layered aesthetic in the vein of Adem and Tunng. But this is more than an exercise in nerdy bedroom electronica: “I have tried to move away from that” asserts David. “The Golden Portion was very much sequence-based, computer-recorded, programmed beats, tons more keyboards and hardly any guitar. I felt it had been done to death already, so i wanted to make a grander sounding folk record with loads more guitars and more vocals too” Songs are as important to the boys as textures, and the melodies come at you with such self-assurance that you don’t know whether to meet them with a bear hug or duck for cover.
With collaboration comes perspective, and Stephen’s vocals liberate David’s soundscapes, adding a psychedelic edge in the vein of My Bloody Valentine, but with a dose of skewed realism. Lines like “I’ll be the scarf around your neck” (If It Could Talk It Wouldn’t Say Anything) make you gaze up from your shoes and focus instead on your breaking heart. This yearning wistfulness can be traced through a number of influences; from James Taylor and Nick Drake, through to Ariel M and Jim O Rourke. The record also pushes the line between analogue and digital instruments just a little bit further.
Are the bleeps at the end of Pink Smoke, forged through Logic or a circuit bent keyboard? Is that a harmonium or a sine wave on If It Could Talk It Wouldn’t Say Anything? Is that a fast flowing stream or a microphone left on in a pocket. Really good records speak their own language, and ask you to investigate them to understand. And so it is with IBIL: complex textures and simple melodies conspiring to make it at once disarming and compelling. It’s music inspired by accidents, by finding beauty in the unintentional, the ‘wyrd’ in the everyday.
David states his inspiration as “Whenever I hear something natural that has gone wrong or has been digitally manipulated. Like an old field recording of some birds or rain that has been distorted.” Text Adventure is perfect pop, with a post rock sensibility: Gorgeous acoustic guitar lines hang hammocked in the mix between crackling static like an electronic rainstorm. The tracks come on like a series of commands strung together to create a whole gaming experience. Take Boobook (For R) which opens with three minutes of bossa guitar worthy of Eureka era Jim O Rourke before even a sniff of a lyric.
Or Nothing is Wrong (Nothing is wrong) whose Mice Parade-esque guitar line warps into a digital portrait of the wintertime before bursting back again into full summer. And yes it’s cute. But cute is what makes life worth living: It’s the crinkle of an old kit kat wrapper in your pocket. It’s the rain.
It’s the plastic bag snagged on a branch in a stream. It’s walking by a motorway on a grey day and staring at the clouds. Aesthetically simple, but as complex as you can make it. “It’s like something beautiful gone wrong” says David modestly.
Or very, very right. 01. Pink Smoke 02. If It Could Talk, It Wouldn't Say Anything 03.
I'm Losing My Reflection 04. Boobook (For R) 05. Saturday Morning Cartoons 06. Cowboy Shadows 07.
Nothing Is Wrong (Nothing Is Wrong) 08. I Might Be Silly 09. Sunset In The Silver Forest 10. I Believe In Lassies http://www.myspace.com/iamtextadventure http://www.myspace.com/dearstereofan Read more on Last.fm.
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