Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will recall that I’m not one for ceremony; on Valentine’s Day when other blogs were featuring tracks about glorious love, I was being contrary and ignoring the day’s existence. I’ll do the same this Easter weekend. You’re unlikely to find a song about bunnies, crucifixion or eggs in these parts (though a song featuring all three would surely pique my interest).
I’m in a conciliatory mood today though. The long weekend and the four days away from my day job are dampening my cantankerous spirit so I’ll make a slight concession and feature a great song this Good Friday that has the word ‘good’ flowing through it like a stick of rock. “Love looks good on you“, sing the Sleep Walking Animals on their indie folk track, ‘Aengus’ Fool’, originally released on Valentine’s Day.
It’s a cracking track and really marks Sleep Walking Animals out as ones to look out for when live gigging resumes. A tour is tentatively planned for October. The vocal harmonies in Aengus’ Fool build and fall over the shuffling, broken march of the drums to produce something both relentlessly modern and vigorously vintage. There’s a slightly, sinister edge running throughout as well, an approach explained by Jack from the band when we exchange E- mails.
“We released Aengus’ Fool on valentines day because it’s a confession of infatuation and desire.“, he says. “And although the song is about love (it was inspired by Irish Mythology – Aengus is the god of love) it has darker undertones. I think we wanted to subvert the usual sickly expectations of valentines day.”
I’m onboard with that. Jack also mentions that Sleep Walking Animals have another single, Wild Folk, out right now. “If you want something more current it might be worth reviewing that as well/instead.“, he suggests. I take a listen and there’s no denying it’s quality.
But I think I’ll stick with my contrary, original plan and just feature Aengus’ Fool. Have a good Easter weekend one and all.
It felt somewhat neat and a little appropriate on Valentine’s Day to receive the new song and video from Louis Brennan, Airport Hotel.
Sending brightly-coloured cards with glossy emotions does little more than sabotage and sanitise the complicated feelings we all experience around ‘love’ and it’s perhaps this that turns many off from celebrating with flowers, chocolate and poor poetry on St. Valentine’s Day.
In Airport Hotel, the emotions are real and raw; let yourself get carried away with Brennan’s expressive, baritone voice as it gradually reveals the story of ‘forbidden’ love that permeates throughout the song. The string arrangements rise and fall as Louis ponders how he might explain to his wife (and kids) that he has fallen for another. It’s stark, dark and yet beautiful storytelling that’ll surely tug on the most emotionally detached.
The release of ‘Airport Hotel’ comes slightly in advance of Louis’ album ‘Dead Capital’ which is scheduled to drop on February 23rd. It’s an album that Sonic Breakfast is quite excited to hear. Back in 2017, Louis released another track from it, ‘Bit Part Actor’. Brooding, dark and melancholic with the poetry taking centre-stage, the video stars one of Sonic Breakfast’s favourite comedians, Ed Aczel.
In despondency, it’s entirely possible to find lovely art.
As this week builds towards the corporate schmalz of Valentines Day, Sonic Breakfast has unearthed a delightful record about love for your listening pleasure.
Find Me Find You: A Story by Todd and Jingyu is quite an album. We’re suckers for stories here at Sonic Breakfast and this one beautifully documents the relationship of our leading characters. The first half of the record takes us from the pain of previous friendships that weren’t quite right through to the initial connection and meeting between Todd and Jingyu. The second half shows how, despite some cultural differences (Todd is American and Jingyu Chinese), the love that develops continues to grow.
One suspects that this is still a couple who hold hands when they walk in the park. You get the sense that Todd and Jingyu wake every morning with that secure knowledge of being able to share the wonders and curiosities of the world together.
Musically, the story of Find Me:Find You also touches on many of Sonic Breakfast’s pinch points. There are counterpoints a-plenty within the sweet, observational duets that make up much of the record. You can easily imagine that you’re listening to the soundtrack from a stage musical here; a simpler Sondheim shall we say?
Do listen to the record from start to finish if this has piqued your interest – it’s freely available on line and well worthy of digging into. For now, Sonic Breakfast wants to share two songs with you .
‘Find You’ is set before Todd and Jingyu meet. Both are establishing their online dating profiles, boiling their wants and desires down into a simplified cliched language that might appeal to their dream partner. And wrestling with themselves over the apparent stupidity of it all.
‘Boy And Girl’ is the album’s central stone. It’s the thoughts of Todd and Jingyu when they first meet; the initial rush of excitement when they realise there’s a connection; the nervous energy that’s expended when you babble on about the first thing that comes to mind in those moments when any silence might be considered awkward rather than perfectly natural.
These are happy romantic tunes, awash with the sweetest of uncorrupted innocence. It almost feels like Spring is in the air.