Tuesday, November 6, 2012
REVIEW: Banana and Louie - Alphabet Soup
Seemingly taking inspiration from The Beach Boys and Belle and Sebastian, Matthew Stead and Sharon Leach of London indie pop band A Fine Day For Sailing (previous profile here) formed Banana and Louie to give life to their wide-ranging baroque/chamber pop conceptions. The result is the excellent Alphabet Soup, a collection sweet, jangly, melodic pop songs with orchestral flourishes not often found in today's indie music. It's distinct voice alone would make it welcome on today's scene, but the quality of the music speaks for itself. Try out track "Hero of the Home Countries" --
The full line-up for the album is Matthew Stead (vocals, guitar, percussion), Sharon Leach (vocals, keys, glockenspiel, melodica), Jacob Chivers (drums), Simon Nelson (bass, guitar), Gareth Jones (bass), Kenny Lee (piano), Natalie Hudson (violin), Matthew Walker (violin), Claire Hadidjenar (violin), Jill Faure (viola), Helen Short (cello), Catherine Carr (flute), Keira Poland (flute), Nicola Burnett Smith (bass clarinet), and Alex Bilig (bassoon).
For those wondering about the somewhat unusual name of the group, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys owned dogs named Banana and Louie, and their barks appear on the Pet Sounds album.
One of my favorite songs on the album is the sweet and lovely "I Have Your Melodica (You Have My Heart)". Hearing it reminds me that we haven't had a Camera Obscura album for a while. And that is no put down for Banana and Louie -- if you remind me of Camera Obscura you are on the inside track to my musical heart.
The album is available on CD, digital download and pink vinyl. The label is Vollwert-Records in Berlin, a fine label devoted to indie pop music.