450

Camberwell Now: All's Well

By

Sign in to view read count
Camberwell Now: All's Well Following the dissolution of This Heat in the early 1980s, drummer Charles Hayward and bassist Trefor Goronwy recruited the group's sound technician, Stephan Rickard, for a new, more song-oriented band. Camberwell Now subverted the standard rock trio format by delegating the role of electric guitar to Rickard's "tape switchboard," lending the band's music textural depth and spatial complexity.

Starting off with the Syd Barrett-esque "Cutty Sark," the four songs from 1984's Meridian EP lack the unstoppable drive that would mark Camberwell Now's future work, though "Spirit of Dunkirk" makes a memorable hook out of a nasally whine.

There's a marked difference between Meridian and Camberwell Now's only LP, The Ghost Trade (1986), a shot of adrenaline that is foreshadowed in the punkish cassette-only compilation track "Daddy Needs a Throne." With atmospheric synths and tape loops filling the guitar's role, and melodies that are haunting but frequently elusive, the forward momentum throughout The Ghost Trade is sustained by Hayward's propulsive drumming and Goronwy's dexterous, multilayered bass playing.

Rickard's tape work is at turns ethereal and unsettling, and it allows the band to intermingle British folk and 20th century experimental music with great success. In fact, when the powerhouse rhythm section settles down, the hypnotic and eerie loops keep up the pace, preventing exploratory tracks like "Wheat Futures" from becoming too ponderous.The Ghost Trade is a superb summation of what makes the Canterbury-sprouted family tree such a fascinating world, worth tracing to the present-day practitioners of Rock in Opposition.

All's well that ends well, and Camberwell Now's contribution to music ends very well: The Greenfingers EP comprises the band's catchiest work ("Know How" is, to use a well-worn cliché, Beatle-esque) and the listener is left wanting more. (Actually, there is more: "For Those in Peril on the Sea," an art installation soundtrack that was featured on a Sub Rosa compilation, is not included on All's Well.)

Ad Hoc has cleaned up Camberwell Now's recordings for this collection, demystifying the original vinyl releases and thus diluting their power to some extent. Even so, All's Well. is a thought-provoking document of 1980s post-punk Britain, as well as a fitful epilogue to the work of This Heat.


Track Listing: Cutty Sark; Pearl Divers; Spirit of Dunkirk; Resplash; Daddy Needs a Throne; Working Nights; Sitcom; Wheat Futures; Speculative Fiction; Green Lantern; The Ghost Trade; Greenfingers; Mystery of the Fence; Know How; Element Unknown.

Personnel: Charles Hayward: vocals, drums, keyboards; Trefor Goronwy: bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion; Stephen Rickard: tape switchboard, loops.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Ad Hoc Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Sinking Houseboat Confusion" CD/LP/Track Review Sinking Houseboat Confusion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Arc" CD/LP/Track Review Arc
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 13, 2016
Read "Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>" CD/LP/Track Review Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>
by John Eyles
Published: June 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!