Review: Suck This Tangerine by Las Kellies

When I first heard about Las Kellies’ upcoming album, Suck This Tangerine, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the press release.

Their style of play is so lazy-chic and it naturally flows.  Make no mistake, though – their punchy melody and leading bass that takes you right back to the prowess of Kim Deal in all her Pixies glory, is a sound I don’t think I’ll ever tire of.

Their previous album, Friends and Lovers, has that perfectly detailed yet casual road trip feel, it’s such an authentic album.  So I’m wondering what to expect this time from Ceci (vocals, guitars) and Sil (vocals, drums)

Within a mere few seconds of their lead track, Closer, playing, the rhythm and bass whisked me back to the late 80’s as a kid speed-skating to Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag, an instant kick of nostalgia for me.  Although with Closer the bass line is actually a little more laid back, a little more refined.  So y’know, I guess I’d be meandering backwards on the ice rather than flatlining it head first.

The composite of this album is crystal clear.  Beautifully laid back, Las Kellies harmonised vocals melt right through you and Ceci’s guitaring, my days… I’ve always loved her style of play anyway, but with Suck This Tangerine she’s found more.  Such a loose and free playing style that’s so melodic and with White Paradise, the off-beat play between drums and loose bending guitar hook is soothing class, reminiscent of some of the timeless hooks Beck came up with for Odelay.  

Las Kellies have overall delivered an album of the same calibre as Friends and Lovers.  My vinyl copy is hopefully on its way as I’m writing this.

I was buzzing for a few weeks recently as I was supposed to be seeing them at FairPlay Festival in Manchester, then at our beloved Headrow House, before they headed down to London, Cardiff, Bristol and then Europe for the rest of their dates. Sadly though, literally just days before their flight over here, we got the nod from governments all over the world for lock-down didn’t we.  Flights cancelled.

In amongst all the commercial infrastructure as we know it takes a real beating due to the recent self-isolation directive, musical artists have suffered too.  Promotion, flights, venue bookings, accommodation, insurance, loads more, the list of expenses is crazy and bands are out of pocket.  Especially indie-label bands that live seven thousand miles away.

With all this in mind my love/hate relationship with streaming services is peaking now.  Streaming really is an evil necessity as far as I’m concerned.  Yes it’s convenient, but that’s truly it.  There’s no charm with it, no character with it, nothing TANGIBLE with it, I loathe it ‘device music’ – blergh.  Add the fact that streaming is throttling indie artists big time, by taking a massive skim off the top of the indie revenue that should rightly be theirs, to feed the hungry promotion of AAA star acts across UK/USA you’ve never once streamed in your life.  The thing is, ALL revenue goes in a pool and the streaming service decides where it goes.  So you could exclusively stream your favourite indie bands all year 24/7 and at the end of the year a load of Simon Cowell’s battery hens will get a huge chunk of that revenue, not fair is it?

So I’ve made a little pact with myself, not to be vegan no, nor to be tea-total, but…every time an indie artist who I like releases music, I head straight to their Bandcamp page, to buy a physical record…a warm, snuggly, genuine vinyl record.  It’s the most efficient way of getting the maximum revenue to the artist.  It’s the situation of tour cancellation that so many have had to deal with recently that has sent me Bandcamp’s way.

It’s about looking at the self-isolation silver lining at the minute, isn’t it?  Mine is music, no gigs for now though – no they’re all on hold, aren’t they?  So it’s about supporting each other, either at arm’s length wearing a face mask, or online.  Supporting artists directly will stop them disappearing completely, won’t it, under the horror-pile of Simon Cowell’s battery hens.

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