Album Review – Fragments and Curiosities by Armstrong (2017) (The Beautiful Music)

I am old. Therefore I still like Twitter. I follow Welsh singer-songwriter Armstrong. His account is not like many other artist accounts.

Not for them the constant need to attack timelines explaining in fluent humble brag just how essential it is for any disposable income to be spent on their discographies or on a Beijing made, flimsy T-shirt, that compensates for its immediate first wash disintegration by placing a lop-sided, impact font, band name somewhere near the general chest region.

In contrast Armstrong’s account tends to merely display his love for music, especially in their  ‘Armstrong Jukebox’ posts that have recently extolled the likes of The Lotus Eaters, Cocteau Twins, XTC, and Fossil Collective. The only real promotion on offer are re-tweeted label tweets.

It is perhaps easy to see why Armstrong are so media apathetic. Theirs is truly a self-advertising sound. Mixing the mood and atmosphere of Roddy Frame‘s solo work (enhanced by the usage of 4 track production) to the mid tempo jangle-pop melody of the most recent version of Nick Heyward.

The main musical personality is created, as it was with the two previous releases, by the sheer quality of front man Julian Pitt’s crystalline vocals. His is a voice simply made for the jangle-pop genre juxtaposing smooth Burt Bacarach-isms with a Prefab Sprout / Paddy Macaloon pop perfection. His vocals simply dances around and with the melodies.

Pitt, in a recent interview, described these tracks as ‘abandoned’ due to his sense that he could not replicate the initial recordings and as songs that just ‘did not fit’ onto other releases. However such a description should not deter you from from the sheer undoubted quality of this album, which has every right to be mentioned in the same qualitative terms as the two previous standard album releases. This is most certainly not standard ‘demo fodder’.

Tracks such as as the opening My Resistance (see above), No Time to Waste and the instrumental Rainfall are possibly the stand out tracks amidst a veritable sea of the sort of smooth melodic jangle-pop that is rapidly becoming the signature sound of  a The Beautiful Music label that is in the middle of an elongated period of fine form.

Mr Pitt is working on a new album due to be released mid 2018 and I for one, already have a finger hovering over the pre-order button !…just don’t expect ‘him’ to tell you about it when it is finished !

Artist links

Bandcamp (Buy It Here)

Label Links – The Beautiful Music

Official Website (Buy It Here)

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