Single Review – Summer by The Ashenden Papers (Secret Center Records) (2021)
Back in 2011, Jason Dezember (he of Plastic Shoelaces, Bagpipe Pperation, Ski Instructors fame) used this The Ashenden Papers project as a vehicle to get all of his most precious bedroom pop leanings out into the world. The result was a brilliant self-titled debut (do yourself a favour and go and download it here!)
Then that was it. Or at least we thought it was, until suddenly, 8 years later, he released the Melodie Robin single (Dec 2019) and the quite superb (and long delayed) second album, Asphodel Meadows album (May 2020). Both effectively confirmed a) the project’s brilliance and b) the hiatus was afr too long.
Thankfully Dezember has more concerted plans for this project, with this Summer single being the first of what his Facebook page decrees ‘four upcoming singles’ and indeed one that gives us every reason to assume this could be quite a special collection.
Featuring jangle-goddess Rose Mellberg and Leon Levy / Matt Hull of Coast Office, the two tracks on this single have vastly different, but equally beguiling jangle-pop credentials. Opener, Summer’s Coming On assumes the lucid jangly riffs of the Pale Lights but subjugates them with both perfect lo-fi production and the wispy, note perfect, Mellberg harmonies.
Left on Henderson is completely different, crashing incessant C86 / The Pastels style ramshackle, through whirring fuzz that almost begrudgingly acquiesces to a melodic intent, that always, just about manages to fight it’s way to the surface. Full of dynamism, it is not the typical sound of this project, but revels in the difference.
Single one is so good, the remaining three singles have a lot to live up to. However, if ever an artist can keep up the quality it is Jason Dezember and this project.