Another CD that’s hard to review; on one hand, it’s excellent, on the other it’s hard to know why we should tell anyone to buy it. Is consistently interesting a good enough reason?
Oskar’s Drum is Patrik Fitzgerald and Yves Altana. Older readers may have come across Fitzgerald’s work, as he claims to be an originator of folk punk and his best-known song (according to Wikipedia**) is Safety-Pin Stuck In My Heart — despite our many hours perusing A&A’s indie singles bin in the early 80s we remember neither the song nor the sleeve. Frank Turner fans would recognise the sound, though.
Altana is guitarist with Manchester bands Wonky Alice, The Chrysalids and (with Mark Burgess) Invincible. He currently plays drums live for Chameleons Vox.
The songs on this album are the works of men who know their craft and they all sound instantly familiar. They’re not really like any other band we can think of, skirting round many a sound from the indie/punk days, a bit Magazine and a bit Siouxsie, though slicker than either. They reference Bowie and there are odd psychedelic moments. It has the darkness of the Banshees, but a strong sense of melody too, a combination of darkness, wistfulness and optimism, though there is some anger.
If you like any of the bands mentioned, or interesting music in general, give it a go. Try The Last Time I Saw Roger, which starts off slowly, references Lord Of The Flies, builds up nicely and has a cool guitar solo. Opener Green Veiled Mirror Ghost is good, too.
Out now on Ragoora Records, RAG010.
** THIS IS WRONG. Oskar’s Drum have a vocal fanbase and I looked at the wrong Mr Fitzgerald on Wikipedia, a fact I realised when they turned up wielding pitchforks and blazing torches. Doh! Sorry.
I’m not changing it otherwise the comments make no sense. The point remains I’d never heard of them before this album, though.
I am told Kitchens of Distinction are excellent and have a boxset out.