People have addiction problems. For some, it can be sunlight, sport or Smarties’n’crisp butties. Others love laughter. Quite a few take to drink or prescription medicine.
A man I know, having renounced his old vices, discourages drinking coffee saying: “The best part of a cup of coffee is the aroma, the promise of what’s on offer.”
Peter Buck teamed up with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody for 2010’s album The Place We Ran From. The pair assembled what, back in the day of cheesecloth’n’denim overkill, would have been called a ‘supergroup’.
Whizkid Garret ‘Jacknife” Lee, R.E.M. sidekick Scott McCaughey, Iain Archer, and Belle and Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn provided the scaffolding for a set of tunes that came across like a charity-shop Eagles.
They’re back with 11 new tracks. This time, Buck explains, they aimed for a “Topanga Canyon folk vibe” with added “discordant Krautrock and weird synth-pop sound”. Capturing the mellow zeitgeist, the bruised opener, I Don’t Want You As A Ghost achieves that goal with distinction.
The Creak in the Floorboards embroiders the concept.
It was while touring America with Snow Patrol that Lightbody yearned to channel his inner Don Henley.
The lure of clapped-out motels, two-lane blacktops, truck-stop waitresses and dead-eyed drifters has long proved fertile fodder for writers. Gary’s part of a tradition that’s greater than the alt- country musicians he likes, those “bands that look at the darkness in America”.
It’s testimony to the strength of his musical personality that, despite various guests, including Snow Patrol’s guitar roadie Troy Stewart, Bronagh Gallagher and Minnie Driver, much of Tired Pony’s work sounds remarkably like Snow Patrol. In holiday mode, perhaps, but Snow Patrol nonetheless.
Punishment canters along nicely with subliminal dark whizzy noises and sweet harmonies on top, as Gary urges: “Let’s go searching for God again.”
“These memories form a choir,” he croons on the optimistic closer Your Way Is The Way Home.
Sparse acoustic guitar and keyboards leave room for Minnie Driver’s effective duet.
Tired Pony are getting there. Anyone for a skinny latte? HHHII
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