Boo Radleys
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Everything's Alright Forever , 5/10
Giant Steps , 7/10
Wake Up , 5/10
C'Mon Kids , 6/10
Kingsize , 6.5/10
Eggman: First Fruits , 4/10
Brave Captain: Advertisements for Myself , 6/10
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I Boo Radleys, formati a Liverpool nel 1988 per opera di Simon Rowbottom (voce) e Martin Carr (chitarra), furono protagonisti (almeno nei rotocalchi musicali) del periodo a cavallo fra il dream-pop dei Cocteau Twins e il Brit-pop degli Oasis, e ne espressero le contraddizioni e le incertezze.

Il mini-album Ichabod And I (Action, 1990) era l'opera di mediocri discepoli del noise-pop dei Jesus And Mary Chain (per la verita` piu` simili ancora ai Dinosaur Jr, che pero` forse non conoscevano). Kaleidoscope (Rough Trade, 1990), con la title-track, Every Heaven (Rough Trade, 1991), con Finest Kiss, Boo Up (Rough Trade, 1991), con Everybird, e Adrenaline (Creation, 1992), con Lazy Day, spostarono progressivamente l'accento verso la psichedelia "shoegazing" dei My Bloody Valentine, anche se in versione molto piu` melodica. I primi tre EP verranno raccolti su Learning To Walk (Rough Trade, 1994).

L'album Everything's Alright Forever (Columbia, 1992) accentuo` la componente melodica, ma senza rinunciare alle strutture dilatate, per cui le varie Skyscraper, Does It Hurt, Losing It e Memory Babe fanno leva su ritornelli languidi e sognanti.

Altri tre singoli fecero da ponte fra questo album e il successivo: Boo Forever (Creation, 1992), Lazarus (con un arrangiamento in continuo movimento, dal dub iniziale all'apoteosi di trombe finale) e infine I Hang Suspended (la melodia piu` leziosa).

Giant Steps (Columbia, 1993) completo` la metamorfosi da sperimentatori a canzonettari. I Boo Radleys saltarono sul carro del Brit-pop e si misero a sfornare arie da anni '60 arrangiate secondo le feste armoniche dei tardi Beach Boys e dei tardi Love. Ma i madrigali classicheggianti di Thinking Of Ways e Best Lose The Fear sono tutt'al piu` degni del Paisley Underground della California (Three O'Clock e similia). Sul fronte melodico svetta semmai il girotondo alla Belly di Rodney King. Tutto sommato sono piu` suggestivi gli episodi periferici: fantasie dub come Upon 9th And Fairchild, ballate distorte come Butterfly McQueen, collage psych-orchestrali come Lazarus, il florilegio dissonante di Spun Around. I Boo Radleys stanno ancora sperimentando, ma bisogna scavare a fondo per rendersene conto. La formazione e` d'altronde salita a sette elementi, compresi violoncello (Lindsay Johnston), corno (Steve Kitchen) e clarinetto (Jackie Toy). L'album rimarra` forse il loro capolavoro.

If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.
Wake Up (Creation, 1995) non lascia dubbi su quale sia la nuova direttrice: le canzoncine spigliate di Beach Boys e Mama's & Papa's filtrate attraverso la sensibilita` barocca degli Squeeze. Wake Up Boo, Lulu, Reaching Out From Here sono tutti arrangiamenti formalmente impeccabili, ma assolutamente vuoti. In un certo senso ha ragione chi ha scritto che si tratta della quintessenza del pop britannico degli anni '90.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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Wake Up (Creation, 1995) is the quintessence of straightforward, linear Brit-pop: impeccable melodies and arrangements, but absolutely empty music. The Boo Radleys revisit the ditties of Beach Boys and Mama's And Papa's through the baroque maquillage of the Squeeze. The light, smooth, ethereal vocal harmonies are the band's trademark, as are the jovial horn fanfares. Wake Up Boo> adds a bouncing ska beat, It's Lulu a power-pop progression, Reaching Out From Here a tender Hollies feeling. Their spineless, syrupy melodies, not adequately supported by the muse (often limited to a martial tempo) fall flat. The slow, romantic tracks are a terrible bore and the closing Wilder is third-rate Billy Joel. The Kinks-y lullaby Charles Bukowski Is Dead revitalizes the album but it's too little too late. This album will become their best-seller.

C'Mon Kids (Creation, 1996) is another homage to the triad of Kinks, Who and Hollies, but this time it is wed again to Giant Steps-grade arrangements that border on Queen-style pomp. With a few exceptions (C'Mon Kids, What's On The Box) the result is even emptier than the previous album: all form and no content. Carr simply updates the sound of the band to modern production techniques.

Kingsize (Creation, 1998) is the real follow-up to Giant Steps: Old Newsstand At Hamilton Square, Blue Room In Archway and so forth are miniature pop concertos that employ countless production tricks to sound the way they don't sound. Carr is a magician who can totally hypnotize and confuse his audience.

After the band's breakup, singer "Sice" adopted a new monicker, Eggman, and recorded First Fruits (Creation, 1997). Carr was the Boo Radley's Beethoven and it shows. Eggman's music is not catchy and is not majestic and is not original.

The Beatles made one Rubber Soul and the Beach Boys made one Pet Sounds: the Boo Radleys made three or four of them. They are only as good as heavily-processed pop can get, but they assembled an impressive body of work.

Martin Carr launched a solo career under the moniker Brave Captain with the mediocre mini-albums The Fingertip Saint Sessions Vol 1 (Wichita, 2000) and Go With Yourself (Wichita, 2001), summarized in the USA on Nothing Lives Long, He Sang, Only the Earth and the Mountains (Thirsty Ear, 2001). Carr updated his Brit-pop sound to electronics and computers on the first Brave Captain full-length, Advertisements for Myself (Wichita, 2002), that contains an impressive dose of catchy tunes masquerading as avantgarde.

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