Today’s song is by a band I’d never heard of before until I received some information about them by the splendidly magnificent (and magnificently splendid, I might add) Will from the PR company Heapsaflash. (Hi, Will!)
Before I get on with my pointless prattling, I want to express my concern about something in particular…
When Will sent me biographical information about Timothy Nelson & The Infidels, it came in the form of an A4 sheet of paper with a whole heap o’ information about the band and the music (on both sides of the paper). One side of the page has a completely black background, like so:
As far as I’m concerned, that page uses way too much ink. Now, I don’t know if the PR company has unlimited resources but why use so much ink? (I suppose if the company used a laser printer, then the question would be: Why use so much toner?)
The PR company is called Heapsaflash. I want to call it Heapsaink.
OK. Rant over.
Now to the music…
The helpful Will (I was about to call him Mr. Chappy Man, but then I thought he might not enjoy that very much) pointed me in the direction of I Know This Now, the debut album by the aforementioned Timothy and co.
I’ve now listened to the album five times, and must say that I found it a much more enjoyable experience than I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, it was the black-ink-saturated blurb that produced a bit of hesitation and dubiousness in me. A part of the blurb claimed that the music was a sort of Big Star–Wilco hybrid, and “jangly, guitar-heavy folk”. From what I heard, it wasn’t that at all. For me, the music is more pop with tinges of country. I was going to use the phrase “slightly rootsy”, but it’s not really. (Well, not as much as Wilco.) There’s a fair bit of guitar in it, but it’s not what I’d call ‘guitar-heavy’. And it’s not particularly jangly, either. (It’s more ‘strummy’ than jangly.)
But whatever you want to call it, I think I Know This Now is a mighty decent album. Now, it’s not a power pop album, so you may not like it all. (I guess it depends on how much power you like in your pop.) Or maybe you will.
Although I don’t usually find myself attracted to albums full of pop with tinges of country (e.g., harmonica, lap-steel guitars, and all those things that get people thinking, “Hmm – that sounds a bit country-ish”), I found listening to this album a surprisingly pleasant and painless experience.
Being an album kind of guy (I’ve previously banged on about how I love listening to albums from start to finish, so I won’t bang on about it here as well), one thing I was very impressed with is that I Know This Now is a proper album. It sounds like a collection of related songs, not just a couple of outstanding songs and the rest filler. It’s also frighteningly consistent throughout in the quality of the songwriting, singing, playing, and production. This makes it an album with no dud tracks on it. It also makes it a complete non-chore to listen to.
For me, the advantage of listening to an album I enjoy from start to finish, with no individual songs significantly better (or worse) than any other songs, is that I can confidently tell you this: if you like one song, you’re gonna like the album.
The disadvantage is that it’s made it extremely difficult for me to choose a song to play you. I’m afraid that playing you only one of the album’s songs does that song a disservice because it deserves to be heard in the context of the whole thing (i.e., with its musical siblings).
So, I’m going to choose four songs in the hope that you at least get an idea of the kind of music Mr. Nelson and his Infidels makes, even if you don’t get to experience the album (which I think is still the best way to hear Timbo’s batch of songs)…
Timothy Nelson & The Infidels – songs wrenched from I Know This Now (2011)
By the way, if you managed to get this far in the post (I hope you packed your lunch for it) and you want to know more about the man, there’s an interview with Timothy Nelson over at The Thousands.