Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Ashley Naylor - Four Track Mind - 2004
One can't say that Australian Ashley Naylor isn't clear with his intent, as Ashley Naylor's Four-Track Mind does have the rough and ready feeling of just that kind of recording, and he does pretty well with it, at that. Rather than simply trying to create overly perfect pop in a freeze-dried post-Beatles sense -- a plague that far too many people subscribe to as a cure rather than a disease -- Naylor, though he clearly has that jones, is out to let the ragged parts show through, in a way that any number of lo-fi acts would appreciate. Naylor's not out to push the bounds of music, though, and if one isn't inclined to hooky if stripped down guitar pop with gently mournful harmonies, then Four-Track Mind won't be of much interest. For those who are, though, the album's a sweet little treat, capturing elements ranging from pre-Ziggy Stardust Bowie to the Kinks' taut character portrayals to Chris Knox's wild and wired experiments. Naylor's reliance on acoustic guitar plus other instruments -- ragged keyboards on songs like "Merry-Go-Round," drowned piano on "Soothe Me with Your Song" -- actually gives the album an unexpectedly fragile edge that's quite becoming. Other high points include the ambling instrumental "Pyjama Stars," with a great contrast between major and minor key parts on the guitar, and the even more rambling "I Made Up My Mind," with a minimal lyric but with a great country/gospel beat and a series of extended, frazzled solos that Naylor should explore more of, as he's quite good with them. -AMG
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Posted by Curty Ray