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Friday, 21 December 2012

SubVersion Stop 165: Darren Hayman + My Crooked Teeth + Trevor Williams - Wednesday 12th December @ The Bullingdon Arms, Oxford

As a writer, I'm conducting a survey on "the blues" cause in society. Nay tonight's cast lumping turds with nu-gaze acoustic Folk styles. Darren Hayman ends my listening fizzed up, scribbling  - I couldn't get past his third about his dream girl looking like "that lesbian off of Brookside".

But I mean really. Where else to find a better solution to "the blues" than Folk nights? Whether it's foot-tapping sea shanties, or token hyper-literacy - take My Crooked Teeth's "Like an ostrich with my head in the sand, I couldn't see the signs", almost borderlining genius sequencing through lolloping lines and multifaceted raunch, you're guaranteed entertainment. Take local songsmith Trev Williams: a reinvented Michael Stipe of REM turn Anglo-American-ness if ever. "Lucky", his fourth after opener "Happy Song", placates the line "You can run for miles, or become a skeleton", following his chant and handclap loop FX. It tells harmonic structure belying much of depression and why it's experience - not only because an artist is total shite, but of all the scientific implications too. Thankfully Trev, even with a Christmas song on his tracklist, doesn't slip into tribute band second-rate-ism; it's ultimately down to his idiosyncratic integrity.

My Crooked Teeth, while lacking the accompaniment, plays a mean melodic guitar line, with gut-tippingly powerful lyrics, including "Hurt tells me to ignore what I've done to others" which really hits home. Read deaf, impact doesn't compare, but this is the power of sound - its determinancy shapes what we do, and when we do it. Explaining why The Bully is ceremoniously packed out by the time Darren Hayman enters the room. His second tune is so delicately played on the acoustic he reminds me of Helios' Keith Kenniff, despite the musings about "Bringing the waves into ground so we can make places to park" offering counter-direction. Steely rimshot to the 8 ball finish. From what's witnessed Darren promises much, My Crooked Teeth strap the rockets to the storm cloud, and Williams plays resoundingly, without whimsy. Three reasons why this evening was a corker above blue moon station.


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