The new Bailterspace album

Last updated 10:51 20/08/2012

You'll remember that recently the news came of a new Bailterspace album - and that prompted me to offer up some memories of the band. Well Strobosphere has arrived - you could download the single free and then for a week or so you could stream the album - but I resisted hearing the single more than once outside of the album and didn't want to sit tied to my computer for the experience of the new Bailterspace album.Strobosphere

It's in my hands though now - the vinyl - and it's on my iPod, it's been accompanying me on walks around town. It always felt right walking around to the sounds of Wammo and Capsul and now there's Strobosphere to update that sound and feel.

Immediately, as soon as Things That We Found kicks off the album, you could be forgiven for thinking this is an album that has been sitting in the can for 20 years - a hidden gem finally out from the vaults.

Those big proud ringing open chords - they're here. And the drawling vocals, sometimes hiding but in most cases more to the fore than on previous records. The title track is next and I'm still not sure I'm listening to Bailterspace in 2012 - it could be 1992 or 1994 or 1989 or 2002. And I'm fine with this as Blue Star and Polarize move through. There is, on Blue Star, evidence of a jangly old pop song, a hint of where Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wanted to go with songs before falling over themselves in attempts to rejig the collected magpie findings of their musical nest. And Polarize has Alister Parker biting down on the chords, keeping a tighter rein than usual - the songs are so often anchored by Brent MacLachlan but here it's Parker keeping this song's melody right in front of him, even if you instantly imagine it six inches in front only and down by his shoes, his eyes fixed on the floor so as to keep it pinned down.

No Sense has a looser wrist hitting the strings and doesn't so much suggest that the band has been listening to the likes of Interpol - more that Interpol never really had a handle on how to create this sort of song as anything more lasting than a fad.

For Meeting Place we hear the Bailterspace of earlier records - that chime, the ringing/wringing guitar just escaping the splosh of hi-hats and that hair-trigger snare-drum.

Just as I thought Island might turn into Nirvana's About a Girl it shifts due to Parker channelling Iggy Pop with the vocal. The whine hasn't been refined - it's all but gone, it's as if we're hearing him in post-rock crooner mode. And I like it. This sound is carried over to OP1, a slithering sliver of a song. And then Live by the Ocean could almost make you wonder if Bailterspace has been listening to Kurt Vile for an update of the mumbled Lou Reed delivery - and then you realise that Bailterspace albums are made in a vacuum - unconcerned with sounding like anything other than what Bailterspace's music is meant to be.

Some people might not be happy at the brief (37-minute) running time and at the lack of warped, spacy jam-pieces (in the vein of Argonaut) but others will be happier to hear short song-based pieces.

All I know at this stage is that I'm happy to have one of my favourite bands back - and now what we require, obviously, is a tour. Can we make that happen? Are you keen to see Bailterspace doing the rounds of the country once again? Would you go to see them? And have you got on board with Strobosphere already? What do you think? I love the album - but at the moment I love it simply because it exists - it's here. And I've wanted a new Bailterspace album (and tour) for a decade or so.Bailterspace

I'm also just excited to have something like this - an album that feels like a return to form and a continuation of form; an album that doesn't feel like a disappointing new sound, or a repeat of the old and obvious. 

How about you? Will you be buying Strobosphere on vinyl? Or getting hold of the album on another format? Have you heard it already and it's not doing it for you? Or can you not wait to get on board with this album? Go directly to the Arch Hill site for more details.

Postscript: I've used the one-word Bailterspace in this post because that's how it appears on the new album. Previously I've written Bailter Space (as two words) - as I did here - because that was how the band was known. 

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37 comments
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Alsden   #1   11:02 am Aug 20 2012

A boring band.

Martyn Pepperell   #2   11:02 am Aug 20 2012

I'd be pretty keen to see that tour as well.

UK Music Fan   #3   11:58 am Aug 20 2012

The Flying Nun fad (of which Bailterspace were, and still are, a product) essentially petered to a halt in the mid nineteen eighties, when indie-pop made a move for the better towards stronger songwriting, and cleaner more professional production (spearheaded by the great Ian Broudie).

Lou Reed was as guilty as Chris Knox and his Flying-Nun cronies of bringing sloppiness to the forefront of independant pop music. A song recorded in a bedroom studio can never mean as much as one recorded in a state of the art recording studio with high end microphones and a Neve desk.

Sharp, careful, professional songwriting, and a sound commercial approach (with target market in mind) will always outdo music and lyrics thrown together in the studio on the day by people who are probably intoxicated.

That's why in thirty years people will be humming Broudie's "Pure," and "Life of Riley," and not "She Speeds."

Darryl   #4   11:59 am Aug 20 2012

Simon, I'm interested to know what the bass guitar situation is with this, given John Halvorsen is supposedly not involved. Is there bass, did Alister play it?

Either way on the strength of what you say it will probably be the only vinyl I'll buy this year, which means getting off my lazy ass and fixing my broken turntable.

I would definitely go if they toured.

Jeremy T.   #5   12:08 pm Aug 20 2012

I love UK Music Fan - pure gold, every time. I bet I know who it is, too...

Dr Zoidberg   #6   12:19 pm Aug 20 2012

Wow, so this new album sounds like a mixture of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, Nirvana, Iggy Pop, Kurt Vile and Lou Reed!! That's a electic mix. You've piqued my interest somewhat.

Simon Sweetman   #7   12:38 pm Aug 20 2012

Today sees UK Music Fan's best effort so far I believe.

David King   #8   12:41 pm Aug 20 2012

As far as I can tell, looking at the album cover, it's "bailterspace" - not "Bailterspace." I only mention this because it was you, blogger, who brought up the orthographical anal punctiliousness, overshot and stepped in your own bloop.

Dr Zoidberg   #9   12:44 pm Aug 20 2012

Off topic, but Simon, can you tell us what you think of the new Bloc Party album. Been getting some pretty sweet reviews. From what I've heard so far it's a return to their Silent Alarm sound. ie, kick-ass guitar solos and vicious drumming. I'm salivating at the prospect.

Neil Watts   #10   12:47 pm Aug 20 2012

Well, It sounds like Ian Broudie's Mum doesn't like all these cheeky low-fi rascals making great music without massive budgets and auto-tuners eh.

Never mind. I won't upset her by mentioning that Ian has all the vocal ability of a washed-up haddock that swallowed too much dirty water from the Mersey. Saw the Lightning Seeds live once; he couldn't hold a note in his hand.

Anyways, here's to real independent music. Long may boys and girls express themselves with nasty old second-hand amps in their garages. Some folk will never get it, but that's their loss, right?

I can't wait to put this lovely slab of wax on my turntable, and point the volume north.


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