Around the time that Subjangle (the label of this blog) and Super 8 (aka Trip or even his actual name, Paul Ryan) were concluding negotiations to release this years Head Sounds album, I got an excited message from him exclaiming that Lisa Mychols (or the ‘Queen of Power-pop’ as he excitedly referred to her) had agreed to collaborate with him on one his tracks. He was puppy excited.
Over the course of the next fewmonths, the single turned into an EP, the EP into a genuine friendship and musical respect between the two and eventually culminated in the conclusion of this album (and their resultant signing by the wonderful ‘all things pop’ label that is Wally Salem‘s, The Beautiful Music) after Trip battled through a life threatening operation to remove some nasty, ever increasing, imposter from his brain.
I suppose, this extra sense of background, has made me feel altogether more invested in this somewhat unlikely union between the most regularly radiating of California’s pop chanteuses and a fellow who regularly laces all manner of 60’s melodies with the sort ramshackle, off the cuff brilliance, that made C86 so essential and gives him a sense of ‘proper Brit’.
However, thankfully, the sheer vibrant warmth of this album and the way in which the expected ‘sounds’ of each of the collaborators are allowed to breathe and congregate, immediately avoids that dreaded sense of sods law and anti-climax.
At the very start of the album the first few chords / seconds of What Will Be (see above) suggest how this album ‘might’ excel and tracks such as You & Me, Me & You, Honey Bee and Your Summer Theme confirms just how right you are.
Such tracks contain the guiding light and vibrancy of Mychols glaring ‘made for pop sunshine’ vocals, which seem to invite Ryan to ‘play’, as he appears to grab whatever is in his immediate surrounds and make bouncing melodies in a way that suggests the cobbled aesthetic of Backers and Maracas rather than the fully shaped ones of Head Sounds. It’s this disparate union of perfectly sweet and deliberated ramshackle, that gives the whole album a sense of sumptuous innate.
Of course, at varying levels beneath the surface, both parts of this collaboration have big beating ‘pop hearts’ and the album was never going to be devoid of pops most pretty side. As such the quite incredible stand out of Trip & Ellie’s Music Factory (see below), Flying Close to the Sun and Timebomb provide the more immediate moments of beauty that we perhaps all expected and tuned in for.
I am not sure where this duo are going from here. Lisa seems to be the busiest vocalist in America and Trip is a walking song writing machine. Whether they get it together again, remains to be seen…but you just feel they kind of ‘have too’ somehow.